As a young Filipina, I feel like I’m fighting my way through every single day. Countless women like me had to fight hard to get us to where we are now. From being able to vote, to resisting society’s limiting and stereotypical gender perceptions, to holding abusers accountable for countless crimes and misconducts. Women have endured so much through history, and the battle’s far from won. We’re still fighting the good fight.
With that said, it is truly inspiring to see all kinds of women rise above incredible challenges to make massive contributions to society. I am happy and proud to say, that while we’re still on the uphill climb, more and more of us have become shining beacons of light. In the Philippines alone, there are lots of women who have done extraordinary work to bring significant changes in their sectors and communities, proving that the ability to serve and even lead the nation does not lie in one’s gender.
Women can be whatever they want to be — entrepreneurs, surgeons, lawyers, engineers, a chief justice, a president. And they can carry out the job and succeed just as much as any male counterpart, maybe even do better. For that, it is only right to celebrate every woman who continues to inspire other women, and every girl who dreams of reaching her star.
As I read the news these days, I smile at all the names and faces I see. There are so many Filipinas who are worth admiring. But for the sake of mentioning a few, below are three women who have been successful in their fields and whose achievements have been truly inspiring to me.
Known for her credibility in handling interviews and giving depth to news headlines, Jessica Soho is currently the most awarded broadcast journalist in the country, with around 300 local awards and over 30 international awards to date.
It’s very important for women to have their voices heard. Through the stories and headlines in her TV programs, Soho perfectly shows how this can be done. Her storytelling has captured not just people’s attention, but their hearts as well. Through her work, she has encouraged countless Filipinos to pay closer attention to local issues that really matter.
Her stories have inspired many people to answer the call to action, to bring justice where it is needed most, to bring positive change across the many corners of our archipelago. She has been the epitome of rippling inspiration. Personally, she has given me added confidence and has made me rethink being in front of the camera.
Anna Oposa has been passionate for the seas since she was a child. She grew up spending summers at the beach. And at 15 years old, she was scuba diving and exploring the incredible life underwater. Being up close to marine life, she had her eyes opened to the abuse and destruction of Philippine marine resources. However, it was with the news of the large-scale illegal wildlife trade case — called the “rape of the Philippine seas” back in 2011 — that she realized what she had to do.
Along with other citizens (many of them women!) enraged by the appalling extraction of our marine resources, Oposa created an online platform that later turned into a movement. She co-founded Save Philippine Seas (SPS), which became a registered non-stock, non-profit organization. SPS aims to narrow the gap on environmental conservation between scientists and the general public. Since then, SPS has been educating people on how to better care for our marine resources. In August 2012, SPS began the Shark Shelter Project, its first community-based initiative in Malapascua Island, Cebu.
Oposa’s work is definitely important for every Filipino. Saving our seas means saving so many lives as well. The water can give us food, livelihood, and solutions to our problems as a country; but first, we need to do our part in protecting, rehabilitating, and nurturing it. Thanks to her, I’ve been more conscious about single-use products and the kind of souvenirs I purchase. I’ve started my own war on plastic! And I definitely strive to do my best to pick up trash whenever I visit the beach.
Alice Eduardo is the “woman of steel.” Her road to success, however, wasn’t as smooth-sailing as you would expect. Her younger years beckoned her to her family’s rice milling and exporting businesses in Nueva Ecija. It wasn’t until later on when she was able to pursue what grew to be a passion for the construction business.
Growing up, she had already set her heart on becoming an engineer. But there was a problem — her parents disapproved, saying they didn’t want her involved in a “man’s job.” Nevertheless, years later, the perfect opportunity finally came knocking on her door, and she was able to fulfill her dream. She founded Sta. Elena Construction and Development, which has now grown into a AAA and Large B firm. Between projects, she mentors budding entrepreneurs through Go Negosyo, inspiring many more young women to chase after their dreams, specially in formerly male-dominated industries.
She has also been involved in philanthropic work. Notably, she donated the Department of Pediatrics-Hematology-Oncology Isolation Ward at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). It has been called her “monument of love,” and has been said to improve the survival of young cancer patients by 60%.
Alice’s journey reminds me that there will be many more people who will say ‘no’ to me in my life. Sometimes they’ll be those closest to me. But if I persevere, just like she did, nothing is impossible.
It’s a woman’s world
Just like Alice, sky’s the limit to what we can build. With passion as deep as Anna’s love for the seas, there’s no depth we can’t dive. And when our collective voices are as far-reaching as Jessica’s, our message will be heard. We will get what we deserve. These three women prove that we’re just getting started. I have never been more proud to be a woman!
This post was submitted by Patricia, an avid reader of Flying Ketchup.