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FRESH FROM THE recently-concluded Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) National Conference on Gender and Development (GAD) Planning and Budgeting last May 26 to 30, 2014, Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) Executive Director Cynthia R. Cruz, who was also concurrent director of the DOLE-Planning Service, said that gender discrimination issues in the workplace should be revisited and studied once again.

Executive Director Cruz said that the DOLE National GAD Conference served as a reminder for the ILS to look into the gender issues faced by workers and employees and update its previous researches. In 2010, the ILS organized a forum on gender disparities in the Filipino workplace, covering topics from the growing phenomenon of jobless males to the gaps between men and women in the workforce and to the hiring prejudices against workers who are lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBTs).


In view of the changing times and employment landscapes, Executive Director Cruz expressed intention to steer the Institute into exploring the often-untouched aspects of gender discrimination in employment: the sexual harassment of male and LGBT workers. She noted that compared to women whose rights and welfare are strongly promoted and protected by law, males and LGBTs are often more quiet about their gender problems, including sexual harassment. She said that this silence could be attributed to cultural norms that give premium to the macho image of men, making it embarrassing for them to report sexual harassment. In the same vein, LGBTs also find it difficult to come out publicly about their experiences of sexual harassment since this could subject them to further harassment and ridicule.


Toward addressing these concerns, Executive Director Cruz said that she will require the ILS’ GAD Focal Point System (GFPS) Technical Working Group to organize series of policy forums on men’s work challenges and LGBT sexual harassment issues in the workplace, which will be held sometime in July and August 2014. Meanwhile, she said that at present, the ILS GFPS Technical Working Group will be reorganized this June to ensure that all the 2014 GAD plans will be reoriented toward client-friendly and results-oriented outcomes and effective budget utilization and program implementation.


“We hope to organize a series of policy forums on men’s work concerns and LGBT issues in July and August this year. But before we do that, we will also reorganize the ILS’ GAD committee so we can further strengthen our GAD research programs and advocacies,” Executive Director Cruz said.


(For more information and queries about this press release, please contact Mr. Bryan M. Balco of the Advocacy and Publications Division of the Institute for Labor Studies at 527-3490/527-3447).