In celebration of the Women’s month, the Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services (COPERS), in partnership with the Gender and Development Office of the 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, held the very first gathering of uniformed women from various branches of service on March 15, 2016. Dubbed “It’s a Girl Thing”, the Women, Peace and Security Forum was held at the Academic Council Conference Room, Regis Hall, Community Center of the First Companions along Roxas Avenue.
The program for the whole-day activity was designed by Dr. Nelly Z. Limbadan, chairperson of the Department of Psychology. Providing inputs along with Dr. Limbadan were Psychology professors Dr. Gina Lamzon and Ms. Analyn Leysa. COPERS Affiliates from San Pedro College (Maureen Jean Lara, Dr. Hazel Victoriano), Holy Cross of Davao (Cheene Luy Manalo), University of the Philippines – Mindanao ( Sheena Marione Nazareno), Father Saturnino Urios University (Maristela Gales), and the Philippine Mental Health Association (Precious Manliguez) also volunteered to facilitate the small group sharing during the workshops. They were joined by Imma Concepcion Oani of the Senior High School, clinical psychologist Katrina Vandenbroeck, and MS Psych intern MG Suarez.
Eighty-four participants from the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Philippine National Police were guided to explore the realities of being a woman in the 21st century in terms of the multiple burdens they carry and their personal resources for coping with the demands of a career in a male-dominated work environment.
The output from the workshops is aimed to inform policy-setting in the security sector for more responsive actions that address the peculiar needs of women in the peace and security workforce.
Recognizing this groundbreaking initiative, the Philippine Army Headquarters sent a GAD representative to observe how to replicate the conduct of the workshops nationwide.
Since its institutionalization in 2007, COPERS has actively pursued policy making in the security sector towards rights-based operations in an effort to help transform the institution to become a professional armed forces that is a source of national pride.