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On women and the Philippine city

Can a woman take her place in the Philippine city? Would she have the chance to shape it? Will our environment allow feminist places? These questions grapple with steep power relations, from our colonial past to our present authoritarian state. We are still at the level where a teenager has to school a misogynist television host about rape culture. We still live in a regime where a litany of offenses against women have left many feeling resigned; remarks about shooting vaginas can get away, and statements like telling working women leaders to "just maybe shut up" or calling them frauds are hailed by a certain population.

This has been a long time coming in my mind, but I finally found courage to write it. Leslie Kern’s Feminist City really resonated with me when I read it a year ago in London, and now that I wade through Philippine cities and battle with patriarchal space, words just came out pouring, and I finished writing this in a few minutes. CNN Philippines Life published this in time for International Women’s Day, and within two hours of this being online, I received so much “Me Too” feedback on having to find clean public bathrooms while menstruating, keeping safe at night, and just generally, making it as a women in the urban, patriarchal jungle.

Read my essay here, and I’d love to discuss how we can improve cities to cater more for women and girls.

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