During International Women’s Month, people worldwide have come to celebrate and spotlight women, their rights, and the issues they’ve been facing for decades, such as gender inequality, lack of reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. As society continues to battle these issues, we look up to women role models who have impacted us in their own way too.
Women worldwide have transformed traditional gender roles and created safe spaces for girls and women. We have the likes of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift who has been dominating the music scene for years and even defending the rights of female artists. There’s also Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s renowned Olympic gold medalist for weightlifting and a BS Business Management student in Benilde.
In a series of interviews with The Benildean, selected students shared the significant women role models in their lives and how these women have molded them today.
Getting to know the unsung heroes
Impactful women don’t always come from famous backgrounds. Sometimes, they can come from places one would least expect to see them. They can be the staff who help keep the school clean or even your assertive girlfriends who won’t back down from defending you.
Louise, an ID 121 student, shared that their role models include their mother and sister. “Growing up, I saw how they have gone through struggles they faced [as women],” Louise said. Nina Jumaquio, another ID 121 Benildean student who studies Multimedia Arts, also imparted that as it may be viewed as a cliche, her mother is also her role model because of how “She would pick herself back up despite the hardships she faced, such as managing the household and starting a business from the ground up.”
While mothers and siblings may seem like typical role models, they play a huge part in how people view them more than their gender and understand what challenges they have to face each day. This includes unequal compensation, discrimination, and stereotypical views of them.
Blooming into the people we are today
For Louise, their mother and sister shaped them to grow more in touch with their feminine side, especially through their sister. They better understood women through the bond they shared with her.
According to ID 121 AB-MMA student Rykiel David, her Aunt Mae is “the pinnacle of being a breadwinner on my mom's side of the family.” “Being the eldest of 12 siblings, the amount of pressure she had on her shoulders from a young age was overwhelming, but she persevered,” David shared.
Upon asking about where they think women are today with their roles, Louise mentioned that “There are still men who belittle women and stereotype them as “soft,” “obedient,” and “emotional” in a negative connotation that makes them look like they are reliant on men or aren’t as reliant and efficient in work as men do – in short: inferior.” Jumaquio aired similar sentiments that women are viewed with certain “expectations” to fulfill in line with their roles, especially being in a patriarchal society.
Despite these conservative instances still seen in modern times, women have already been transcending the roles they used to be boxed up in. We have women competing in what was known only as male-dominant sports, such as Margielyn Didal’s upcoming Olympic campaign for skateboarding in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France. Renowned cosplayer and gamer Alodia Gosiengfiao also broke traditional stereotypes by inspiring women to pursue esports and gaming, such as how she founded the esports and video gaming-oriented entertainment agency Tier One Entertainment.
Moving past celebrations and conversations
While International Women’s Month is celebrated yearly, it shouldn’t be viewed simply as an annual celebration to be forgotten after the month has ended. It reminds society that women should be treated equally and not inferior to any other gender.
Jumaquio emphasized that “Women have great impacts on how we live our life today. [International Women’s Month] is a remembrance of their capabilities and contributions in this world.” Furthermore, David mentioned that it’s important for people to have women role models as they can also “Provide great inspiration for the younger generation while helping them with learning about different views.”
Remembering women is important. However, it isn’t always enough because for women’s issues to be heard and fixed, we should also support them. This includes supporting small businesses run by women, establishing connections with women with similar interests and advocacies, and lifting each other up.
With that, the Benildean Press Corps hopes all women had a very empowering women’s month, and we continue to celebrate and support them in all their endeavors. The future can definitely be female if we continue to elevate women and let society know how much women can make the world go round.