Philippines: ICJ and IBP hold workshop on eliminating gender stereotypes in justice delivery

From 12 to 13 October 2018, the ICJ and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) held its second national workshop on eliminating gender discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards women.

Participants at the workshop were members of IBP’s Board of Governors and Committee on Bar Discipline. The workshop was held in Cebu City, Philippines.

Emerlynne Gil, ICJ’s Senior International Legal Adviser opened the workshop by emphasizing that it is crucial for lawyers of all areas of expertise to engage in dialogues such as this in order to further enhance women’s access to justice.

Gil pointed out that gender stereotypes incorporated in laws and perpetuated in the administration of justice impair the capacity of women to exercise their right to access to justice.

She emphasized that lawyers, as frontline formal justice actors, play a key role in eliminating these stereotypes.

Marienne Ibadlit, IBP’s Governor for Western Visayas, spoke about the establishment of the Gender and Development (GAD) Committee as a standing committee of the IBP.

The establishment of the GAD Committee is expected to advance gender and women’s human rights within the IBP.

It is also expected to institutionalize within the IBP efforts to build the capacity of lawyers in the Philippines to assist women in accessing justice.

The participants recognized during the opening session that recourse to gender stereotypes in the practice of law and administration of justice is widespread in the Philippines and that gender stereotypes directly impact women’s access to justice.

A range of stereotypes were identified, including the idea of women being the ‘weaker sex’ and the perception that female lawyers are not suited for litigation of controversial political or criminal cases.

During the workshop, participants discussed how they could maximize their role as lawyers in facilitating women’s access to justice, specifically in the areas of domestic violence, sexual violence, family law, and employment law.

Some of the participants noted that they themselves had been influenced by gender stereotypes and committed to be more consciously gender sensitive in their work and personal life.

While acknowledging that much more must be done to bring about systematic change, it was agreed that incremental measures could be impactful.

Abdiel Dan Fajardo, National President of the IBP, expressed support for more action by lawyers in the Philippines on women’s human rights.

Both the ICJ and IBP reinforced their commitment to joint collaboration in furthering the advancements in women’s access to justice in the country.


Emerlynne Gil, Senior International Legal Adviser for Southeast Asia, t: +662 619 8477 (ext. 206) ; e: emerlynne.gil(a)

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