Women and the Environment

The state of today’s environment is a direct consequence of economic and social factors. Most decisive of these factors are poverty and the rapid population growth that result to the destruction of forests and pollution of water and air. It is deemed that the role of women is critical in combating poverty and controlling population in order to work for the protection of the environment and natural resources (ENR) and achieve sustainable development.

Though women may also be agents of environmental degradation by the nature of their activities and responsibilities, they have an equally significant impact on environmental conservation due to their multiple roles. Women’s day-to-day activities such as growing, collecting or buying food, tending domestic animals, gathering wood and water, and caring for children and the home have provided them with special knowledge of the environment.

The international community recognizes the role of women in ENR utilization and preservation that it has endorsed several plans of action for the full integration of women in all development activities. The Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) for one has included gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment under one of its critical areas of concern. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) called on governments to integrate a gender perspective into the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of national environmental policies.

For its part, the Philippines has adopted the Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development that serves as a framework for natural resources management and environmental protection. The Strategy’s key elements include conservation, proper pricing of natural resources, property rights reform, population management, rural development, and citizen’s participation. –Philippine Commission on Women



In line with the National Women’s Month Celebration, EMB XI Gender and Development Kick-off activity was held on March 2, 2020 with the theme “Women can make Change in Climate and Disaster Resiliency”. During the said activity a Seminar on responsible parenthood and reproductive health (RA 10354) was conducted with Resource Speaker from the Department of Health XI, Ms. Fairuz P. Dinalo. She emphasized the role of every women in the universal access to methods on contraception, fertility control, sex education and maternal care. Family Planning and the decision on the methods to be used in planning pregnancy and the number of children is the responsibility of couples/ individuals. She also stressed out that RPRH Act program gives priority to marginalized, poor beneficiaries and women in provision of reproductive health care, information and family planning supplies.


Pollution Control Officers from various health care facilities in Davao City participated in  the learning activity on November 23, 2020, which focused on the role of women in the management of health care wastes with emphasis on the enforcement of RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and RA 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act.  Basic concepts on gender and development that emphasize fairness and equity among men and women with equal opportunities in all aspects were tackled in the learning event.  Gender issues surrounding gender and development explore issues and problems, inequalities, gaps and differences between women and men arising from their distinct roles and relationships; deterrents to development and often overlooked in the development process.

Ms. Jaybee Balneg of Ecological Solid Waste Management Section underscored the role of women in the enforcement of the Act as she presented the salient features of RA 9003.  Health care wastes in this time of pandemic is very crucial as  health care wastes are expected to increase in volume as the health crisis continues.  Segregation at Source is the best waste management practice that could help reduce the problem on wastes.   Pollution Control Officers have key responsibilities in ensuring ecological integrity as they  performed their duties in the workplace.  Any healthcare facility is being monitored for compliance to the Act with penalties imposed to those who do not comply.

Ms. Myhrra Fair Barquilla, Chief of Chemical Substances  and Hazardous Wastes Permitting Section, on the other hand, gave a lecture on the management of hazardous wastes in health care facilities.  Ms. Barquilla provided an overview of RA 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act.  Such Act directs the DENR to establish rules, regulations and programs for controlling chemical substances and hazardous wastes management in the Philippines.  Toxic substances are a public concern due to the increase in the production, importation and use of chemicals, it is inevitable that the chemicals released increase, giving rise to greater risk to human health and the environment. Ms. Barquilla cited the dangers of chemical substances on health and environment.

To end the activity,  Ms. Sheena Mari Paster requested the participants to share their insights on the impacts of pandemic as perceived in the roles they play as women.  Most of the answers pointed out that women perceived that the pandemic has caused great impact with more workers lost jobs resulting to financial loss and   women who became jobless stay at home and attend to the children’s needs.    Others commented that the learning activity is timely as the country is facing the health crisis.