Philippines introduces gender equality law

The Philippines has finally enacted gender equality legislation after years of lobbying from female rights campaigners.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the country's Magna Carta of Women in Manila last week, helping to define gender discrimination and outlining approaches to eliminate it.

The document has a strong emphasis on reproductive health, which has led to opposition from conservative religious parties who claim it will promote promiscuity, abortion, divorce and homosexuality.

However, supporters successfully championed the need to provide for a woman's right to exercise a greater degree of control over her own health and wellbeing.

Liza Maza, the Gabriela Women's Party Representative in the 13th Congress of the Philippines, said: "After all the attempts to block the passage of the Magna Carta of Women, the Filipino women have finally emerged victorious.

"This is a by-product of women's continuous struggle for equality and serves as a gateway in support to women's legitimate concerns."

Back in March, a rally promoting the rights of women was staged in Quezon City, the first major city in the Philippines to introduce legal measures specifically designed to encourage the protection of women and children.