President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte drew flak from many when he kissed migrant worker Bea Kim on the lips (!) at an event with overseas Filipino workers in South Korea. Bea Kim, who is married to a Korean, and was on stage to receive a book when Duterte sought a kiss from her, asking if she can explain it to her husband as a joke. She later dismissed the kiss and said “it meant nothing”. Yet, many others were livid at Duterte’s behaviour, arguing that this only perpetuates the view that misogyny is accepted in Philippine culture. In a world where gender equality is ever-growing in importance, perhaps Duterte should reconsider his “showbiz” style – all the more so with the Philippines leading Asia-Pacific on gender equality in the workplace.

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