Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR110401 Australian Embassy Celebrates International Women’s Month


Ambassador Rod Smith and wife Leanne Brueckner (centre) pictured with Her Excellency Delia Albert,
former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Philippine
Ambassador to Australia (4th from right) and the Hon Maria Isabelle ‘Beng’ Climaco, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (extreme right) at the
Australian Embassy’s Women’s Day Reception. Other guests included (L-R) Australian Embassy Consular Warden James Curtis Smith together with daughter, award-winning actress Anne Curtis, Philippine Commission on Women Chairperson, Remedios Rikken and Pearl S Buck International-Woman of the Year Awardee, Rosalind Wee

In celebration of International Women’s Month during March the Australian Embassy held a photographic exhibition “Women Leading Change: Australia’s support for women’s leadership and decision making”. The exhibition, on display in the foyer of the RCBC building in Makati earlier this month, showcased a number of Australian-funded projects which have empowered women, strengthened female leaders and allowed women’s voices to be heard.

Support for women’s rights and gender equality are among the core goals of Australia’s development cooperation program in the Philippines. In close collaboration with the Philippine Government, Australia supports these goals by providing funding, resources and skills support for individual women, women’s organisations, partner governments and international organisations.

“The Australian government is proud to support Filipino women, not just during Women’s Month, but throughout the year. The empowerment of women and girls is a critical ingredient in fostering development,” Ambassador Rod Smith said. “Actively supporting women’s full participation in economic, social and political life is very important to promote economic growth and good governance, to reduce poverty and to meet the targets set out under the Millennium Development Goals.”

Projects featured in the exhibition showed what women community leaders can achieve for the development of their families, communities, and the country, when given the tools and support to achieve their potential.

The exhibition highlighted stories such as that of Clarise Peralta, who following tropical storm Ondoy became a member of a Quick Response Team which helped in distributing emergency supplies to evacuation centres. Clarise was supported by Australian aid which, in partnership with Oxfam, supported women in communities affected by the cyclone to rebuild their lives. She is now a community leader and is an advocate for continuing community education on disaster preparedness.

The exhibition also featured examples of Australia’s support for women’s role as peace-builders in communities torn by conflict, which seeks to foster a stable and secure environment for the equitable development of all people. The Mindanao Commission on Women’s project ‘Young Women Widening the Circles of Peace’, supported by AusAID, led to the formation of more than 60 youth peace circles in which young women meet and work towards integrating peace objectives in school and local policies.

The Embassy’s celebration of Women’s Month culminated in a reception on 24th March for leading Filipino women and men from business, government, civil society, and media. Guest speakers, former Ambassador to Australia and former Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Her Excellency Ms Delia Albert, and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ms Maria Isabelle ‘Beng’ Climaco, shared with guests their inspiring stories of courage, faith and determination, in a moving celebration of Women’s Month and of the centenary of International Women’s Day.