Women, join the revolution for the liberation of self, society and the world!
NDF-Bikol commends the women movement for the passage of the Anti-Teenage Marriage Law (ATML) at the beginning of 2022. In the midst of the burgeoning number of early marriages and cases of exploitation among teenagers and minors, this is a step towards the upheaval of the feudal-bourgeois system that diminishes the women’s role to the household and in bed. This law adds to the legal recourses female children may utilize in defense of their right to self-determination. This is one of the laws that progressive partylists and the mass movement carry forward in the desire to free women from discrimination and the society’s backward viewpoint towards them.
The persistence of the semicolonial and semifeudal system is the primary force that shackles women, especially young women, to the many faces of exploitation such as early marriages. This rotten system comes with the backward culture that reduces women to property. In this framework, many poor Filipino families see early marriages as a means to survive poverty. With the idea that they have no other choice, many disenfranchised women also see starting off a family as an insurance for food and a roof over their heads.
Having no options is a daily reality for the common woman. They are twice as burdened by poverty and exploitation. Because they are perceived as weak, they have less opportunities in the field of education and employment, they earn less and are more likely to be deprived of basic benefits. This worsened during the pandemic when tens of thousands lost their jobs and were forced to rely on ayuda that the government scarcely delivers. Alongside this, the militaristic policy of an extensive lockdown was enforced. This caused a surge in the rate of exploitation among younger women.
Although progressive laws such as ATML contribute to women’s general struggle, only the obliteration of the current exploitative system and the founding of a new one shall put a conclusive end to the cycle of oppression and violence that women endure from. The people must realize, especially the young women, that their liberation from poverty and backward culture cannot be attained solely through laws. Genuine freedom can be found in their complete recognition of their rights, value and role in society. This can be achieved by joining the revolutionary movement that fully upholds the youth and women’s incomparable role in bringing change not only to one’s self but to the society and the world as well.