Poverty and Women

To this day we are repeatedly bombarded with the propaganda that population control is the solution to the problem of poverty. It is supposedly also the answer to just about any problem, including traffic snarls, street children, crime, housing shortage, overcrowded schools, and pollution. Working within this framework, government is trying to push the notion that the women's ability to control their own fertility is the cornerstone of population and development-related programs. Hence women are coerced to practice artificial contraception and even abortion.

But is population control really the solution? We believe that poverty is a problem of development and not of population growth. We believe that people are the greatest resource.

Women in the Workplace

As women comprise 50% of the population, their contribution to the economy by way of joining the workforce is also quite significant. Therefore, efforts from both government and civil society to ensure good education, proper skills training and employment opportunities to women are substantial investments to help eliminate poverty.

The economic contribution of women does not only come from the educated class who have more prominent careers. A great proportion of the country's financial resources come from the labor of those from the lower economic bracket such as the thousands of women who plant various crops and sell the produce in the market, the overseas domestic helpers and caregivers whose dollar remittances help keep our economy afloat.

It is noteworthy however that the feminine genius of women is seen to be most effective in people-oriented professions such as in the fields of education, medicine, business and media. For it is in these areas where women are able to maximize their innate maternal instinct manifested in their great capacity to serve selflessly, in their attention to detail, in their receptivity and flexibility which make for great interpersonal skills.

Motherhood and Poverty

We believe poverty is not simply an economic issue but rather, is more of a values formation concern.

Unfortunately, we often times limit the concept of 'development' to material advancement. We believe authentic development should take into consideration the people's physical, emotional, and spiritual dimension as well.

And since the family is the basic unit of society, true development should start here. With this in mind, the direct contribution of women to the GNP of the country cannot be overly promoted at the expense of their primary responsibility to their respective families due to their natural ability to nurture life. Women's active presence in the home through their gentle warmth, intuition, simple and deep piety, their constancy and emotional strength, their sensitivity towards the weak, etc. creates a great impact in the holistic well-being not only of the members of her household but of society at large.

Just imagine 5000 mothers each responsively caring for 5 children. That amounts to 25,000 virtuous and productive citizens! Imagine that number multiplied to several hundreds more! If our citizens and leaders were properly brought up within their families, that would help eliminate social problems like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, etc.

Truly, it is in the home where women greatly contribute to sustainable development. Once women abandon this seedbed of life and love, society is headed for destruction.

True Responsible Parenthood

We are not for simply bringing more children into this world or for having as many children as physically possible. We are also for responsible parenthood, but not as a disguise for birth control. Population controllers use the term “responsible parenthood” to mean limiting the number of children. True responsible parenthood means performing the duties of caring for, protecting and educating one's children. With regard to the number of children, responsible parenthood means respecting the natural processes in transmitting life, and exercising self-control over one's instincts and passions.

The Solution to Real Problems

The call now is for a holistic sustainable development that will truly uplift and empower the poor. This includes sound economic policies and programs, an enviable peace and order situation, good governance which includes the eradication of graft and corruption, and a holistic human resource development program which provides wider access to academic education, skills training and adequate employment opportunities.

Social ministries attend to different aspects of work with the poor as a response to the call of the social dimension of the gospel. We empower women by educating and counseling them in values that defend and uphold human dignity and life and recognize their indispensable contribution to the integrated development of society. Together, using that human genius under the power of the Holy Spirit, we can work for total human liberation, not just for the alleviation of poverty.

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