Corazon Aquino: The Reluctant First Female President of the Philippines

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This chapter looks back at the first female president of the Philippines and her relationship with the women’s movements after the 1986 People Power Revolution. The person of Aquino is an interesting study, especially when examined in contrast to the largely progressive women’s movements in the Philippines. Popularly known as Cory, she was conservative in upbringing, close to the Roman Catholic Church, and belonged to the landed elite of the country. While sympathetic to the plight of women’s groups, Cory’s personal background and the circumstances that catapulted her into the presidency kept her from actively engaging with women’s groups on issues such as birth control, family planning, and population control. This chapter shows the challenges that Cory Aquino confronted and the missed opportunities for advancing women’s issues in the post-authoritarian environment.