Growing up Female in Post-Colonial Philippines: Education, Militarism and Activism

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Glenda BONIFACIO, Department of Women and Gender Studies, University of Lethbridge, Canada
I was 9 years old when martial law was declared in the Philippines. Everything seemed normal in the elementary and high school, except that all students underwent mandatory citizen military training before graduation. This paper uses a semi-autobiographical lens to examine gender under the turbulent years of post-colonial militarized Philippines, ideological class conflict, religiosity and the seeds of activism that shaped notions of social justice and feminism in the academe and beyond. Extrapolating the socio-political context of discipline, national service, commodification, this paper further looks at the construction of Filipina womanhood through the institutionalization of care work and service for export, the role of the state and its agent—education— in the reproduction and subversion of oppression along multiple axes of power. The theoretical reflections based on participant observation and autobiographical narrative contribute to the discourse of reviving citizen military training in contemporary Philippines since 2001, female labour diaspora and the state, and the implications for growing up female under a system that claims as the most gender-equal country in Asia, and consistently at the top ten spot in the world measured by the World Economic Forum.