25 November 2023 marks the start of the 18-day campaign against Violence Against Women (VAW) in the Philippines.
This year, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Manila along with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Philippines, the Embassy of Denmark in the Philippines, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, SheDecides Philippines, Filipino Freethinkers, Pinay Bike Commuter Community, Break the Cycle and Bikers’ United Movement launches #ShareTheRoadWithHer in its 6th Edition.
#ShareTheRoadWithHer Goes to QC
This year, #SharetheRoadwithHer, partners with and was hosted by the Quezon City Government, its Gender and Development (GAD) Office, Green Transport Office (GTO), its Department of Public Order and Safety (QC-DPOS), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).
“For all the previous years, we are very grateful for Manila City Government and the Intramuros Administration’s support to this cause by serving as our venue partner for Share the Road With Her. For 2023, we wanted to be more ambitious with this important initiative to reach other cities and LGUs in Metro Manila”, Belgian Ambassador to the Philippines Michel Parys expressed hopes to partner with other LGUs in future editions of Share The Road With Her.
Started by the Belgian Embassy in 2018 in observance of the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the initiative has evolved and is becoming bigger than just a cycling event, but an active mobility event encompassing all forms of non-vehicular commute (such as walking, scooting, skating and etc.) with the common objective of raising awareness and making a stand against all forms of violence against women.
On the day of the event, #SharetheRoadWithHer will be riding out from Quezon City Hall Gate 2, around Elliptical Road and Commonwealth Avenue wearing orange, the official color of the campaign worldwide.
As in the previous year of Cycle to End VAW under the initiative of Mayor Joy Belmonte, the Quezon City Government will be giving away bikes to 600 local community mothers as a means to promote sustainable transportation and safe public spaces for women. The combined efforts of all partners to raise awareness on VAW, aims to provide safe spaces for advocates and allies to share their own experiences and to make a collective stand against harassment, violence and abuse based on gender.
Further, Decathlon Philippines (Pasig) will also be providing 15 percent discount vouchers to all participants who signed up online with #ShareTheRoadWithHer as a special partner to the event.
#ShareTheRoadWithHer EU Partners for Gender Action
Ahead of the main activity on 25 November, the Royal Danish Embassy will host a #ShareTheRoadWithHer side-event titled “Public Forum on Gender-Responsive Planning for Public Spaces and Mobility.” on 23 November at Training Hall 1, New SURP Building, UP School of Urban and Regional Planning, UP Diliman, Quezon City. This forum will be a pivotal discussion with esteemed speakers from organizations such as Cycling Embassy of Denmark, Break the Cycle Philippines, UP SURP, the Psychological Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Commission on Women. Denmark aims to explore the imperative of addressing gender inequality in public transport spaces through the lens of the Danish model of inclusive cycling culture, narratives from Filipina bikers, and essential policy recommendations for city planning. Interested participants may sign up via bit.ly/GenderAndMobility.
Meanwhile this year, Germany is funding the Special Appeal of the International Committee of the Red Cross: “Addressing Sexual Violence”. Through a multidisciplinary approach encompassing comprehensive mental health, psycho-social care, legal aid, and other survivor-centered services the ICRC delegation in the Philippines will provide various kinds of assistance for victims and survivors of sexual violence in conflict-affected areas, with a focus on those in the Mindanao and Visayas regions. As part of the work towards a #VAWFreePh, it will seek to better understand the existing referral pathways in the country, with a view to better facilitating and strengthening access to services for survivors of sexual violence.
“Women’s rights are human rights. Gender-based violence are an affront to these rights and pose a serious threat to women’s health and lives. The burden to fight against gender-based violence does not fall solely on the shoulders of women and girls. We need the solidarity of everyone because gender inequality affects everyone, and is everybody’s responsibility.” EU Gender Champion and Dutch Ambassador to the Philippines Marielle Geraedts reiterated. She encourages everyone to “[I] call on each and every person present here today [#ShareTheRoadWithHer Mobility Event] to remember that the campaign doesn’t end this year. We are part of a bigger movement to end violence by changing perspectives.”