AS the world celebrated International Women’s Day on Thursday, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte advised women to “be beautiful and happy.”
Belmonte said it is every woman’s right “to dress up and be beautiful as long as it makes her happy,” citing the need to correct the age-old perception that women exist to satisfy men.
“You can be beautiful, too and all, if it’s for yourself as long as you are happy,” she said.
“You cannot be measured depending on whether men like you or not, but because of the inner satisfaction that you feel about yourself. That is what we wanted to spread,” the vice mayor added.
Under Belmonte’s leadership, the city council in 2016 passed the Amended Gender and Development Code, making Quezon City the first local government in the country to penalize street-level harassment of women.
As Metro Manila’s biggest city with a population of over three million, three in five women in Quezon City were sexually harassed at least once in their lifetime, according to a Social Weather Stations report.
In barangays Payatas and Bagong Silangan, 88 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 have experienced street harassment at least once, the SWS report added. Across all ages, 12 to 55 and above, wolf whistling and catcalling are the most experienced cases.