As the month reserved specially for women, March is always replete with serious messages – about gender equality, ending domestic violence and exploitation of women in media.

Despite these challenges, make no mistake that the International Women’s Day – which falls on the 8th of March – is always about celebrating the gains that have been achieved thus far with regards to these goals.

And that is exactly what happened in Catbalogan on this date. Joining in the celebration spearheaded by the city’s Gender and Development Council were over 1,000 participants from various agencies and schools starting with the Zumba Exercise

at the City Plaza and Fun Walk followed by the Female Symbol Formation.

Afterwards, everybody joined in reading the Empowered Women Creed, which partly said, “May we be strong and gently leaders/ May we never hesitate to let passion push us, conviction compel us, and righteous anger energize us”.

This moment of solemnity did not last long as the upbeat notes of the chosen community song – Whitney Houston’s hit “I’m Every Woman” – started playing. This was followed with a flash mob dancing to Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)”.

The catchy lyrics about confidence, positivism and assertiveness contained in the two dance tunes were supposed to underscore the message of women empowerment that this occasion aims to convey.
This year’s concept of a lively, dynamic and energetic celebration was chosen by organizers as the best way of capturing the spirit of this year’s theme: “Juana, ang Tatag mo ay Tatag Natin sa Pagbangon at Pagsulong”.

The statement aims to honour the strength and resiliency of the country’s Juanas. Clearly in response to the various upheavals that have plagued the country such as the Super Typhoon Yolanda, which resonates particularly with those living in the Eastern Visayan Region, this year’s celebration stressed the important role women play in dealing with crisis as well as in the rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts.

(Article by Ms. Lai Minh Mabulay, Office of the City Mayor; Photos by Michael Balan)

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