The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), together with the Legal Education Board (LEB), held an inaugural two-day training for law professors in the National Capital Region (NCR) on gender and the law at the Manila Hotel on April 21 and 22. Twenty-three law professors from 11 law schools in the NCR participated in the event, “Capacity-Building for Law Professors in the Philippines: Training on Gender Sensitivity and the Rights of Women.”
This series of trainings for law professors is part of ABA ROLI’s Access to Justice and Support for the Rule of Law (ACCESS) program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The first day began with opening messages from Mr. Peter Mackenzie, ABA ROLI’s country director and chief of party in the Philippines, and Hon. Anna Marie Melanie Trinidad, chairperson of the LEB.
Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier, Chairperson of the Supreme Court Committee on Gender Responsiveness in the Judiciary, delivered the keynote address, describing the training as “a clear indication that our institutions and the Filipino people, especially the members of the law teaching profession, are actively working as they are deeply committed to contribute to reshaping our traditions and way of life.” She added that “the purpose is to move away from gender discrimination and misogyny in our society.”
Atty. Paulette Brown, former President of the American Bar Association from 2015 to 2016, gave a lecture introducing the concepts and principles of law and gender. Atty. Brown, the first woman of color and third person of color to serve as president of the ABA, spoke from her own experiences and the US perspective to articulate a nuanced intersectional approach to gender and the law. Dr. Nathalie Africa-Verceles, director of the University of the Philippines Center of Women and Gender Studies, discussed various concepts of gender sensitivity such as discrimination and prejudice, positive and negative discrimination, systemic and individual discrimination, and gender mainstreaming.
Atty. Evalyn Ursua, a human rights lawyer, discussed feminist legal theory and its importance in the study of gender and the law. Atty. Glenda Litong, Head of the Training and Convention Division of the UP Law Center, talked about the international women’s human rights framework, focusing on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Atty. Krissi Shaffina and Atty. Twyla Rubin from the Women Human Rights and Gender Equality Center of the Commission on Human Rights discussed CEDAW jurisprudence.
On the second day, Atty. Rubin discussed the domestic legal framework on women’s human rights and gender equality and the magna carta of women and related laws on health. Atty. Litong talked about gender-based violence against women.
Closing the second day of training, Atty. Luis Jose Geronimo, Director IV of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, discussed gender-related jurisprudence.