Women in the Philippines Have Had Enough of President Duterte’s ‘Macho’ Leadership

In this file photo, hundreds of Filipinos take the street as President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24, 2017. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

By Saying Haynes/time.com – As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte prepared for his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, his third since assuming power in 2016, protesters took to the streets in and around Manila. Police expected around 40,000 protesters against his administration and 40,000 in favor of the controversial leader.

Among those anti-government protesters are women’s rights activists, who have increasingly been speaking out against the Duterte administration. Since taking office in June 2016, the 73-year-old leader has ordered soldiers to shoot female rebels “in the vagina,” made inappropriate comments about his female Vice President’s legs, joked about raping Miss Universe, and equated having a second wife to keeping a “spare tire” in the trunk of a car.

“When he says these things, he’s sending out a message to all men out there that ‘I get away with it, so you can,’” says Inday Espina-Varona, a 54-year-old journalist and one of several co-founders of the #BabaeAko movement. Translated as ‘I Am Woman,’ the social media campaign began in May after Duterte declared that the next Chief Justice of the Philippines could not be a woman.

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