An election battle to fight misogyny | Inquirer Opinion

An election battle to fight misogyny

/ 04:30 AM February 14, 2022

We are gravely mistaken if we look at the coming elections as a mere battle among candidates. The battle of personalities is merely the tip of the iceberg. There are huge battles going on beneath the surface. Whether we know it or not, and whether we like it or not, we are involved in these hidden battles. Over the course of several articles, I will discuss these huge but unnoticed battles in the election campaign.

There’s a total of 10 presidential candidates, nine of whom are male and one female. When you ask voters for the reasons why they will vote for their preferred candidate, they would cite the usual reasons. But when you ask why they will not vote for the other candidates, you will notice that among those who reject the lone female candidate, Vice President Leni Robredo, there’s a significant number who cite her being a woman in their basket of reasons. What’s even more disturbing is that many of these voters are women themselves.

Hidden beneath the battle among candidates in the elections, is a battle to banish the medieval thinking that women are inferior to men. Eighty-four years since 1937 when Filipino women were first given the right to vote, many of our people are still stuck in the primitive view that women are inferior to men.


If God reverses gender roles by making men pregnant instead, the human race will become extinct. Very few men would want to go through the pain and suffering that women go through in childbirth. When my wife gave birth to our son, I saw all the blood, heard the screams, and witnessed the miracle of life, our baby, that came out of her. I imagined myself in her shoes, and I conceded I cannot muster the same courage and strength that she has.


Women display the kind of courage that men cannot match every time they go through the pains of pregnancy, the dangers of childbirth, and the difficulties of breastfeeding. Every woman puts her life on the line because they could die in the process of childbirth. How many men would be brave enough to subject themselves to the same danger?

We, men, make a big fuss about our puny circumcision ordeal. We view our penchant for fisticuffs and violent sports as marks of bravery. We consider our propensity for guile and schemes as traits of astuteness. Men have such a ridiculous concept of courage and wisdom.


Women have an inherently deeper, wider, and more personal understanding of the value of life and its many complicated struggles, because of their unmatched experiences as child-bearers. Some see women as “emotional” which is perceived as a disadvantage in leadership positions. But granted it’s true, it’s wrongly classified. Their “emotional” trait is, in reality, women’s superior sense of empathy. The vanishing capacity of our leaders to feel empathy, the ability to put oneself in the shoes of the poor and victims of injustice, is the reason why our people have been treated miserably. We direly need leaders who have a big reservoir of empathy.

Women also have inherent multi-tasking skills because of the numerous roles they play in the house, in child-rearing, and as co-breadwinners. The inherent multi-tasking ability of women is vital in any leadership position. Holding sway over any institution, province, or even a country, is essentially exercising leadership skills over a bloated version of a household, as my wife who is our town mayor likes to say.

And then we have real examples of women who are demonstrating excellent leadership in their countries. The women heads of state in Germany, New Zealand, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and Slovakia have shown in their handling of the pandemic, that women are capable of exemplary leadership in times of crisis.

The view that women are inferior to men is called misogynism. People who hold misogynist views are prone to treat women unfairly, and even commit crimes against them like rape.

In the coming elections, we are not only electing our country’s next leader. We are also fighting to banish the medieval view that half of humanity — our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters — are inherently inferior human beings.

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Talking misogyny

TAGS: #VotePH2022, 2022 presidential elections, Flea Market of Ideas, Joel Ruiz Butuyan, misogyny

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