By empowering women OFWs, we also empower ourselves

Early this year, the Philippine government imposed a total deployment ban to Kuwait following the death of Filipino domestic worker Jeanelyn Villavende.

In a report by the Manila Standard in 2018, Senator Sonny Angara said that “eighty percent of migrant domestic workers, mostly women, in different parts of the world suffer abuse.”

“The experiences of our overseas workers are no longer humane,” the Senator said. “Majority of those being maltreated and abused are women-OFWs.”

Whether women OFWs face abuse and maltreatment at the hands of their employers or not, it’s still important to honor and make sure that they’re protected by laws because at the end of the day, they’re human, too.

When we empower women OFWs, we also empower ourselves. They’re the ones making sacrifices for themselves and their families in order to give their children better lives and opportunities. Here’s why it’s important that we make sure that they enjoy the same rights as everyone else.

  1. We all, in one way or another, would know one.
    Whether it’s the mom of a friend’s friend, or someone directly in your family, it’s almost impossible not to know a woman OFW who is making great sacrifices — for themselves, for their families. It can affect us, whether directly or indirectly, so it’s important to empower the ones we do know because it would be a great disservice not to.
  2. We mustn’t forget that women are human, too, and that everyone deserves equal rights.
    We start by remembering this very important statement. “We call our OFWs national heroes,” wrote Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas in Manila Bulletin. “But what do we do for them?” There are researchers and academics who are doing the most that they can to publish studies that will help with the welfare of women OFWs. Women, though often marginalized, aren’t second-class citizens. They deserve the same rights as men, as anyone else on the planet.
  3. There have been way too many cases of abuse against women.
    We hear about domestic abuse cases against women OFWs multiple times yearly. If you can, help out in your way by reaching out to organizations who help protect the rights and the welfare of women OFWs. Speak to your legislators; tell them you really care about the rights of women OFWs. Someone out there is listening — it’s all just a matter of being able to talk to those who are.
  4. It’s about seeing beyond ourselves.
    Again, and perhaps most importantly, when we empower women OFWs, we empower ourselves. It’s solidarity with our fellow Filipinos, and for women, solidarity with fellow women. What’s important here is to see beyond ourselves, and reach out when someone needs it.