QUEZON CITY – A webinar hosted by the Department of Journalism, UP Diliman, and Spotlight Initiative of UN Women will discuss gender-based violence experienced by Filipino women migrants at the same time that they are experiencing stress brought by COVID-19 pandemic.

The online meeting will take place on Monday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. and on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. via Zoom. The Nov. 16 meeting will be livestream on Facebook page of Babaeng Biyahero https://www.facebook.com/BabaengBiyaher

The webinar features experts on gender and migration, and journalists who wrote on issues faced by women migrant workers, also called Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).  Among them are Charisse Jordan of UN Women Philippines, Pichit Phromkade of the Safe and Fair Programme, Rhoda Albano of the Center for Migrants Advocacy and Diana Mendoza of Women Writing Women, an independent news site.

Forty  journalists  and campus journalists from all over the country have signed up for the webinars. Aside from the getting data and food subsidy from the organizers, participants will receive a statement masks that conveys the demand to end gender-based violence against women migrants.

Women migrant workers make up more than half of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). In the latest survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, women migrant workers comprise 55.8 percent of the 2.3 million OFWs. Women migrant workers, mostly between ages 25-34, also tend to be younger than their male counterparts.

More than half of the female migrant workers are involved in basic and unskilled occupations. One in every four are working in Saudi Arabia, which is the top destination of women migrant workers, followed by United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Taiwan and Qatar.

The push to work abroad to improve the lot of their families exposes Filipino women migrant to trafficking and fraudulent job recruiters.  The nature of work the Filipino women migrants, which is menial and lowly paid, has rendered them powerless to negotiate for better pay and safe workplaces. Being women, they also accorded subordinate status by receiving countries, and being migrants, they don’t enjoy many rights.