02 June 2013
Sen. Pia reaps praises for work on RH Law
Receives ‘Rising Star Award’ at Women Deliver Conference
For fighting for the enactment of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law in the face of adversity and disinformation, a Filipino senator has earned the recognition of an international conference that calls for the improved health and well-being of women and girls worldwide.
Senator Pia S. Cayetano, principal sponsor of the landmark measure that was enacted into law last December, was one of three recipients of the very first ‘Rising Star Awards’ given on the final day of the 3rd Women Deliver Conference held in Kuala Lumpur from May 28-30.
The lady senator likewise reaped praises from one of the conference’s principal organizers, Melinda Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as American singer-songwriter and actress Mandy Moore, who also attended the conference.
The recognition was given to the senator at the conference’s closing plenary on Thursday, along with Thailand’s Dr. Imane Khachani, an OB-Gynecologist and reproductive health rights advocate, and South Africa’s Remmy Shawa, who is spearheading a community-based campaign to end violence against women in Cape Town. Gates and Woman Deliver President Jill Sheffield led the presentation of the first-ever Rising Star Awards to Cayetano, Khachani and Shawa, whom conference organizers described as “three emerging voices in the field of women’s health and rights.”(Note: See related press release from the Women Deliver 2013 website: http://www.womendeliver.org/updates/entry/women-deliver-2013-concludes-with-a-united-call-to-invest-in-girls-and-wome )
“I am happy and I am deeply honored to know that our people’s struggle for the rights and health of women and girls has, in turn, inspired and earned the respect of other people and movements across world,” said Cayetano.
“This recognition also belongs to all those who helped us in the fight for reproductive health rights in the Philippines. Much remains to be done, especially since the fate of the law still hangs in the Supreme Court. But this should not deter us from proceeding with our work in educating, organizing and empowering more women and girls,” she added.
Gates commended Cayetano for three crucial pieces of legislation which she helped sponsor and pass, including the mandatory immunization law, the expanded breastfeeding law, and the RH law. “She’s living out what it means to be both a mother and a woman and a leader of woman’s issues in her country,” she said.
On her Twitter account @TheMandyMoore, the singer, actress and renowned women’s rights advocate tweeted, “A woman definitely worthy of the title. My new hero: Senator Pia Cayetano of the Philippines.” (Note: Ms Moore’s tweet has been retweeted 460 times as of Sunday morning.) In a tweet conversation, she also greeted the senator, “Congrats on the well-deserved honor!” (See Mandy Moore’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/TheMandyMoore )
On the other hand, Gabrielle Fitzgerald, Director of Global Program Advocacy of the Gates Foundation, wrote on the organization’s blog, Impatient Optimists, describing the senator’s struggle to pass the RH law.
“The story she told was one of resolve in the face of adversity, abiding by scientific evidence and facts, and staying positive against on onslaught of personal attacks and misinformation.,” Fitzgerald wrote.
“Her training as a triathlete kept her going through difficult times – she knew she had the endurance to outlast her opponents, and to keep the finish line in sight.” (Note: Read Fitzgerald’s blog post http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2013/05/My-New-Hero-Senator-Pia-Cayetano-of-the-Philippines )
Fitzgerald was referring to Cayetano’s presentation earlier at the Conference, where she recounted the struggles and difficulties that RH bill proponents had to endure leading to the passage of the landmark law. The Women Deliver 2013 Conference was attended by 4,500 leaders and advocates representing over 2,200 organizations in 149 countries.
RISING STAR. Winners of the Women Deliver ‘Rising Award’ led by Philippine Senator Pia Cayetano (second from right), Remmy Shawa and Imane Khachani (first and second from left), together with gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates (center) and President of Women Deliver Jill Sheffield (far right). The Women Deliver 2013 conference was held from May 28-30 in Kuala Lumpur with 4,500 participants from 149 countries. [Photo courtesy of the Women Deliver 2013 website]