by Jeuel Barroso
Pressing for a more gender-sensitive General Education (GE) curriculum, the UP Diliman Gender Office (UPDGO), along with Gabriela Youth, spearheaded the celebration of the One Billion Rising (OBR) campaign at the UPD Quezon Hall on Feb. 12.
UPDGO Coordinator Dr. Nancy Kimuell-Gabriel said one of the major objectives of the annual OBR world-wide event is to mainstream gender sensitivity in the communities, relating that the future UP Diliman GE reform must have a more gender-sensitive component than the previous.
“In the (21-unit proposed) curriculum, we are campaigning that gender-sensitivity become a part of the framework of its objectives to raise awareness upon the issue. And we hope that whatever GE gender courses are there will remain,” Gabriel, also a professor in the UP College of Arts and Letters, said.
The current curriculum requires students to take 45 units of GE courses of which 21 are specifically required while the other 24 are of free choice. Only six units, Social Science 3 and Panitikang Pilipino 19, deal with gender issues.
The UP Diliman University Council (UC) deferred the proposal to reduce required GE courses to 21-36, and decided to review the reform instead through creation of a special committee. On the other hand, UP Manila UC in its Feb. 9 meeting approved the same reform set to be implemented in 2018.
Gabriel added that if the review committee decides to retain the current GE program in Diliman, faculty must remain insistent in furthering inclusion of more gender courses in the curriculum as well as gender sensitivity in the way all UP courses are taught.
UP President Alfredo Pascual, who was not present during the event, expressed his support for the campaign in a statement. “As long as gender-related crisis exists in our community, we need to continuously strive to increase the level of gender-awareness of the people in the University.”
Gabriel said the university still has a lot to achieve to establish a true gender-sensitive, discrimination-free and people-respecting campus, despite its progress in teaching gender courses and housing a gender office for every UP unit.
“(We) still have a lot to do concerning the usage of sexist language of the faculty and employees to their students and to each other. Also, there are still cases of sexual harassment inside the campus,” Gabriel said.
Geneva Duran, Gabriela Youth – UP Diliman officer said gender sensitivity must be more amplified in the curriculum because not all students are aware of its importance as gender-based GE units are not required courses.
The OBR campaign also addressed student issues such as tuition price hikes and the inadequacy of dormitories.
“This campaign is not only for women empowerment. Students need to engage in this movement because we are all victims of violence in all forms, not just women,” Duran said.
OBR is a global campaign to end violence against women and gender-discrimination launched Feb. 14, 2012. According to the campaign’s website, one out of three women, which makes one billion women around the world, will experience physical or sexual harassment during her lifetime.
Aside from the “Bangon sa Rebolusyon” (Rise for Revolution) dance number, UP’s OBR also featured spoken word and special dance performances from the University Health Service personnel, UP and the nearby Quezon City Polytechnic University students.