Women’s Right To Health

Progressively, women can now be seen equal to men. They can get equal opportunities and access to different position at work.

In fact, in our generation, more women are becoming recognized in the workplace – in leadership like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Jacinda Andern of New Zealand; in science and technology like Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, Katie Bouman whose work led to the first black hole photo and Josephine Santiago-Bond, the Filipina engineer at NASA.

In the Philippines, Magna Carta of Women was created in order to protect them from discrimination and uplift their rights and dignity at work. Women’s right to health ensure that they are well taken care of not just at home but also in their workplace.

What are the Women’s Right to Health?

A. In this Act, the government gives women access to the comprehensive health services that are culture-sensitive and gender-sensitive in order to address the major causes of mortality and morbidity of women.

These services include:

1. Maternal care which include pre-and post-natal services to address pregnancy and infant health and nutrition.

Just recently, female workers can now take 105 day maternity leave with full pays after live child birth, while solo mothers can have additional 15 days to focus on their newborn babies. Thanks to the newly implemented Extended Maternity Leave Act! 👍

2. Promotion of breastfeeding 🤱

“Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009” ensures the promotion and support of breastfeeding. In the workplace, lactation rooms are provided for nursing mothers where they can wash up, breastfeed or express their milk comfortably and store this afterward. This room must be private, clean, sanitary, and well-ventilated rooms or areas in the workplace or public places.

3. Responsible, ethical, legal, safe, and effective methods of family planning;

4. Family and State collaboration in youth sexuality education and health services without prejudice to the primary right and duty of parents to educate their children;

5. Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and AIDS;

6. Prevention and management of reproductive tract cancers like breast and cervical cancers, and other gynecological conditions and disorders;

Special Leave Benefits are given to women with gynecological disorders that require surgical procedures, as certified by a competent physician. Sometimes, company’s human resource representatives refer the medical certificate to their clinic team to verify the gynecological condition of the female employee.

It is important that the clinic team can identify and report which gynecological procedures are included in the guidelines. (see list here)

Procedures are classified into minor and major cases. Minor surgical procedure requires a maximum recuperation period of two weeks. On the other hand, the major surgical procedure requires three weeks to a maximum of 2 months recuperation period.

The earned leave credits may be used for preparatory procedures and/or confinement prior to the surgery. Moreover, should the period of recuperation after the surgery exceed two (2) months, the female employee may use her earned sick leave credits for the same. lf the sick leave credits have been exhausted, the vacation leave credits may be used pursuant to Section 56 of the Omnibus Rules on Leave.

7. Prevention of abortion and management of pregnancy-related complications;

In the Extended Maternity Leave Act, female workers who have cases of emergency termination of pregnancy shall be given 60 days leave with full pay. This can allow them to recover from the loss of their baby.

8. In cases of violence against women and children, women and children victims and survivors have the access to the comprehensive health services that include psychosocial, therapeutic, medical, and legal interventions and assistance towards their healing, recovery, and empowerment;

9. Prevention and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction pursuant to ethical norms and medicals standards;

10. Care of the elderly women beyond their child-bearing years; and

11. Management, treatment, and intervention of mental health problems of woman and girls. Mental health programs are now being checked by the Department of Labor and Employment during their audit. Some companies also provide mental health leave to their employees so that their employees can escape from the toxicity of their work and in order to prevent burn out.

B. Aside from the health services, Magna Carta for Women – Right to Health also promotes access to a Comprehensive Health Information and Education by providing women in all sectors appropriate, timely, complete and accurate information and education of all above-mentioned aspect of women’s health in government education and training programs, with regards to the following:

1. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth and the development of moral character and the right of children to be brought up in an atmosphere of morality and rectitude for the enrichment and strengthening of character;

2. The formation of a person’s sexuality that affirms human dignity;

3. Ethical, legal, safe, and effective family planning methods including fertility awareness.

Women are indeed important assets in today’s workforce population.

Though they are prone to violence and abuse, laws such as Magna Carta of Women exist to protect them from such inequalities and in order for them to work in an environment that is safe, and their basic physical, emotional and psychological needs are met.

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