Redefining today’s women

March is a memorable month for Dabawenyos since it was on March 16 that it became a city.  All over the country, March is the Fire Prevention Month and Rabies Awareness Month.  In the United States, March is Colon Awareness Month.

But all over the world, March is considered as Women’s Month.  The reason: Every March 8, people from all over the globe celebrates International Women’s Day.  It commemorates the movement for women’s rights.

The words of Clare Boothe Luce comes to mind. “Because I am a woman,” she said, “I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”

Susan B. Anthony has this to say: “The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.”

During the recent celebration, Point Blue – a group of fourth year Mass Communication students from the Ateneo de Davao University headed by its project manager, Rexor Amancio – in partnership with SM City Davao and Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy – organized Miss Heard: Redefining the Modern-Day Miss.

“It is an honor to be sharing a day of celebration with you, a day where we all look past the time where women were considered second only to men as we look forward for more glorious moments where we not only lead but we lead each other, other women, and even men, to great victories,” said Ms. Cathy Binag, who is described as “a chef, an image consultant and a mom.”

Binag, owner of The White House, a fine-dining restaurant in the city, talked on gender roles, which basically revolve on women juggling different roles.

Jill Palarca. Photo courtesy of Rexor Amancio
Jill Palarca. Photo courtesy of Rexor Amancio

“Over the past decades, women have seen and experienced various forms of inequalities that resulted from gender stereotypes and social and cultural norms or standards that clipped or limited the chances and opportunities for women to realize their full potentials,” she said.

Oftentimes, she said, men are regarded as strong while women are the exact opposite. “If we are not considered weak, we get the less offensive perception of being soft, shy, slow, or reserved,” Binag pointed out.

More often than not, women are not the boss. “We are seen as the secondary game changers.  Our roles are supportive of the aggressive, strong, and dominant roles played by men,” she said.

But such in her case.  “In my experience, I have challenged and confronted these stereotypes and gender roles and injustices head on.  I refused to be placed in the box of the conventional perception of what women are and should be.  In my experience and current profession, I am my own boss. With great passion and determination, I was able to establish my company,” she stressed.

Atty Geraldine Tiu. Photo courtesy of Rexor Amancio
Atty Geraldine Tiu. Photo courtesy of Rexor Amancio

The two other speakers were Ms. Jill Palarca, a media literacy teacher at the Ateneo de Davao Senior High School who studied filmmaking at the famed New York Film Academy, and Atty. Geraldine Quimosing-Tiu, a professor at the Ateneo de Davao Law School.

Palarca talked about the essence of the real women’s beauty that “comes from within.”  She shared about her struggles of living in a country which pays attention too much on beauty with perfection.

“You have a good brand, because you have great manufacturer,” said Palarca, who used to write, direct and produce for MYV Asia, TV 5 and Channel [V] Philippines. “God made you for a reason however different you are, there’s a reason for that weirdness or difference or uniqueness in you and God will use you and allow God to use you.”

For her part, Atty. Quimosing-Tiu shared her own experience on what is it to work in a profession ruled by men.  During her talk, she gave highlights on the challenges she faced as a lady lawyer and the struggle she had to undergo to become a woman that she is today.

By the way, the lady lawyer also used to be a co-host of the then Mayor, now President Rodrigo Duterte in the Sunday’s “Gikan Sa Masa, Para Sa Masa.”

Those who attended the event really had something to bring with them.  After all, it is considered as “women empowerment event where empowered women empower women.”

“Nag-enjoy ako kasi nakaka-inspire especially upon hearing the personal experiences of the speakers, and on how they had themselves empowered,” said Genevieve Elorpe, a second yearBachelor Science of Marine Technology student from DMMA College of Southern Philippines. “Kasi, for us, since BSMT students kami, ‘yung trabaho namin is dominated ng mga lalaki, so based sa talks na narinig namin, mas na-motivate kami na pasukin ang career na ‘to, kasi alam naming na mag-grow din kami sa career na ‘to, and that hindi lang kami basta pang-kitchen.”

Her classmate, Katrina Gabales echoed the same opinion.  “I also learned… na huwag mo masyadong i-down ‘yung sarili mo because of your looks, o kung ano man, kasi alam mo dapat na kaya mo,” she said.

Again, the words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher come handy.  “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman,” she said.

According to Amancio, the recent event was co-presented by Petron, Eufloria PH, Happy Farmers, Maligaya Taxi, Tupperware Brands Philippines, Laysas BBQ, Flyover Ihaw-ihaw, Wynward Garden and Bistro, and Airsoft Games Club, Inc. (Davao Chapter).