MANILA, Philippines – In a few days, Filipino women will be wrapping up another year. And what a year it's been!
2013 saw women empowered to do more and be more. But challenges continue to hold them back.
In the Philippines, we already see them lead multinational companies, become top executives and occupy high positions in government. Compared to other societies, ours has seen the narrowing of the gender gap. But many women still need to know they can do more and be more.
Discrimination remains a problem. It still happens in the workplace and households, and even in public areas. Many Filipino women still have to fight against stereotypes and labels, weighed down by society's dictates.
As we usher in the new year, we'd like to take the chance to remind women again of the world of possibilities for them. They can whip away labels. (READ: Multiple burdens: One struggle, one success). And they can take the first step by listening to other women – and men.
Who do you want to become? What do you want other women to realize this holiday season? What's your Christmas wish for Filipino women?
Aby Maraño (team captain of the DLSU Lady Spikers)
I wish Filipino women will be able to celebrate a brighter Christmas this year with their loved ones. That they may be able to receive the love they deserve, be it with their families, friends or boyfriends. Be bolder and stronger, too. Why? Because a strong person is not afraid of anything. Just prefer to show courage in the midst of fears, doubts and discouragements.
May Filipino women be seen as responsible and accountable individuals in terms of handling the country, as well as in businesses and other sectors that are usually handled by men. Also, may Filipino women be known not only for showcasing beauty, but also for showing that they have the skills and talents in sports as well.
True and complete empowerment in all aspects of our lives. The liberty to decide for ourselves and choose how to live our lives. We can already do this in the workplace; check out how many women work and hold key positions. Isn’t it the pinnacle of irony that we cannot enjoy these same liberties when it comes to sexual health and divorce—both major life choices that are far more important than what job you will take on? In both cases, either the Church or the State or both are interfering.
My wish for the Pinays this Christmas is to be happy. There’s nothing more amazing than to have a happy Christmas whether (having) gifts, to eat lots, feel loved, and to feel important. I feel the same way right now so I want the rest of the Pinays to have a happy Christmas.
It has been a stressful year where we experienced the horrific 7.1 magnitude earthquake and the unprecedented devastation of super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Visayas. All Filipinos were touched by these two events. I hope that Filipino women who survived the earthquake and super typhoon continue to have the strength to move forward with their lives. I pray that all Filipino women have a restful and fulfilling Christmas.
Our Christmas wish for the women of the Philippines would be for them to stop comparing their features with foreign-looking women and embrace diversity. We wish that each one of them would end body-shaming and negative fat talk and start accepting and loving each of their bodies for what they are. We wish they start treating others with encouragement, respect and love, no matter what size they're in.
May the Supreme Court already uphold the reproductive health law's constitutionality. The implementation of this law is a matter of life or death for women, particularly the young and those in poverty. It took more than a decade-and-a-half for it to become a law and now, the justices can help make women's lives better by addressing our needs for RH services.
Filipino women, the most resilient lot, I wish you real joy, peace and happiness this Christmas. Take time to reflect and really fall in love with your soul and spirit and know that you are strong and beautiful. Celebrate life this season and meditate on this gift from God. Rise up!!! Up and above! Spread your wings and soar!
That all Filipino women be given the autonomy over their bodies and have the options to plan how many children they want to bring into this world. I am a mother of two to – a girl and a boy – and because I have access to education and options, I can choose to only have two children. I only wish others had that fundamental right as well.
My wish is for women’s voices to be heard. The film industry is still very much a male-dominated industry so my wish is for more women directors to be given the chance to have their voices be heard and to be able to tell their stories.
My Christmas wish for Filipino women is that more women start caring for their bodies by nourishing with wholesome, clean food, that they build strength and fitness by living an active lifestyle, and that they constantly challenge themselves to achieve what they once thought was impossible whether it be running a marathon or becoming an entrepreneur. I wish that women realize that they are far more powerful than they think.
Jean Enriquez (executive director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific)
Right now, the women of the Visayas are foremost in my mind. I do wish that they will also find joy and comfort during the Christmas season. It lies on the empathy, the solidarity of the people of our country and the rest of the world. I wish that for the rest of the women who are not among the IDPs (internally displaced persons), that we find joy in continuously sharing our strength and love and courage to our sisters, whether in the Visayas, or Zamboanga, or other areas where our help and solidarity are needed.
I wish for them a pro-RH (Reproductive Health) decision by (the) SC (Supreme Court). I also wish more opportunities for advancement in all fields. I want women to be happy and liberated.
Julz Savard (lead vocalist of Save Me Hollywood, TV host)
I wish them a happy holidays with their loved ones and family. As we know, women are the light of the household so I wish them strength, courage and wisdom. May God keep the Filipina a role model to those around her this Christmas and in times to come. May they stay beautiful and humble.
I wish women's consciousness changes, that our Filipinas won't be afraid to challenge the status quo, question male superiority and recognize patriarchy despite the pain of running into conflict with our own fathers husbands/partners/home and work environment. I wish they realize that the "women empowerment" we see from the media/ads etc. is just on the surface. We must remove all forms of oppression, domination and inequality especially with our marginalized women. We are not genuinely empowered women if we move through a patriarchal system. Ending patriarchy should be a progressive and a shared effort.
My wish for women of the Philippines is for them to learn to attract what they expect, become what they respect and mirror what they admire.
Pinky M. Aseron (broadcast practitioner, professional voice talent and university professor)
For this Christmas (and for the coming years for that matter), I wish for more opportunities for gender equality and women empowerment, and that includes greater access to basic human rights, particularly education and protection from domestic violence. While it is true that we have come a long way insofar as furthering gender equality in our culture, I feel that much has yet to be done in protecting our women against physical, mental and economic oppression, particularly within the marginalized sector.
I sincerely wish Filipino women would know and realize the Power of Choice - The Power of Choice that gives us the opportunity to determine, discover, explore and choose the possibilities in life, far beyond our expectations. THERE IS ALWAYS A CHOICE and the power to choose is in OUR HANDS.
To recognize their full potential, women should look beyond themselves and look out for other women as well. They should be conscious that their voice matters, that how society perceives a woman is not necessarily how a woman should see herself, that women can be more and do more despite labels and stereotypes.
Make this Christmas count. Be inspired, be bold and be you. – Rappler.com
Bianca Gonzalez's photo courtesy of Miguel Alomajan by Visions and Expressions PR
Welcome to Rappler, a social news network where stories inspire community engagement and digitally fuelled actions for social change. Rappler comes from the root words "rap" (to discuss) + "ripple" (to make waves).