The Roots of Gabriela

Against the Current, No. 43, March/April 1993

THE FORMATION IN 1984 of Gabriela, a militant federation of women’s organizations, marked the formal launching of the women’s movement in the Philippines. Emerging at an historical moment when cross-class protest against the U.S.-supported Marcos dictatorship was at its peak, Gabriela assumed the awesome task of articulating feminism in the nationalist struggle.

Since that time feminism in the Philippines has flourished, particularly in the past two years when a large number of new organizations were set up, many of them targeting specific areas of concern. Gabriela remains a critical force by providing an integrative framework for these women’s groups.

A report at its National Congress in 1991 indicated that Gabriela’s member organizations had moved up from 100 in 1990 to 120. It now counts 48,000 individual members nationwide.

Gabriela is named in honor of Gabriela Silang, a Filipina who fought against Spain in the late nineteenth century. Today it is actively organizing several commissions that take charge of women’s concerns: violence against women; health and reproductive rights, human rights; children and family; migrant Filipinas; international relations.

In the United States, Gabriela Network can be reached at P.O. Box 7091, Fremont, CA 94537-7091.

March-April 1993, ATC 43