Defying Stereotypes

Chryssa Jayne Louise Dimailig | 8 — St. Andrew | Staffer
Cloie Dela Cruz | 11 — STEM B | Entertainment Editor
Pauline Capal | 11 — STEM B | Feature Editor

“A woman is pink. Feminine and well-behaved. Emotional and weak.” Stereotypes have always been enchaining every woman’s great potential. For a brilliant gem woefully waiting in the depths of the deep earth, it is time to let its strength and shine live among the continents.

And, truthfully, every woman is pink… and is every shade and hue of the spectrum. A woman is red: assertive, and dominant. A woman is blue: honest, and unique. A woman is violet: fearless, and majestic. Each woman is a fragment of greatness, ever dazzling with each of their epitomes of brilliance.

Past the celebration of women’s month, it is never an irrelevant question to ask the significance of celebrating women in our society every March. Let us walk you through the significance of women and the month of March for you!

Are women ‘just’ women?

The rich history of Filipino women in our society proves otherwise. Corazon Aquino (from 1986 to 1992) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have served as presidents of the Philippines (2001–2010). In 1973, Cecilia Muoz Palma became the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court. These achievements of women prove their in terms of their valuable contributions to equality in government and society.

Women in the Philippines were fighting for the right to vote in the early years of feminism. Many men were opposed to women voting and running for public office. They thought it was a woman’s responsibility to stay at home, clean the house, and care for her children. The familial dynamic would be “destablized” if women stepped out of their traditional roles.

Women, on the other hand, have fought for their rights for three decades. Women’s organizations have risen to apply pressure on the colonial administration and garner its support. Despite the fact that their petitions were rejected, they refused to give up.

447,725 women voted on April 30, 1937, to give them the right to vote. This resulted in a win that went above and beyond the constitutional quota.

Women are still changing the game in the sphere of governance today. Many women now hold positions of leadership in government organizations. In the national administration, we have a female vice president, Leni Robredo, who is also running for president. Among the Senate’s 24 members, there are seven female senators. The 308 members of the House of Representatives include 86 women.

In sports, women also showed that they are physically tough, too. Hidilyn Diaz, a weightlifting champion who won the country’s first Olympic gold medal in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, is one of the notable Filipinas who have made news for their great performances. Nesthy Petecio, a Filipina boxer who competed in the Tokyo Olympics, won a silver medal.

Maria Ressa, a Filipina journalist, was also the first Filipino to win the Nobel Peace Prize for protecting press and speech freedom.

Forming women month’s history

Women’s month actually started locally and it is only observed in the United States. Back in 1909, the Socialist Party of America declared February 28 as National Women’s Day, or NWD. American women continued to celebrate the said celebration until 1913.

In the midst of World War 1, Russian women observed the first International Women’s Day on February 23, but is later on translated in the widely adopted Gregorian calendar as March 8. (It is used ’til this very moment).

In 1975, the United Nations declared March 8 to be International Women’s Day for the first time. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution two years later designating a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, to be observed by member states on any day of the year in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

Ten years after the announcement, the Philippines established Women’s Week on the first week of March and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day through Proclamation №244 issued by the late President Corazon Aquino in 1988. Under Republic Act №6949, the republic ultimately declared March 8th as National Women’s Day the following year.

Women’s Month has been observed in the Philippines and around the world since then. This serves as a medium to celebrate a woman’s accomplishments and to strive to empower women and address gender equality issues.

The W in women stands for warriors

Women weren’t seen as actual humans until they legitimized their humanity and earned them the right to vote.

In fact, they do not even have the ability to utilize basic human rights such as: To speak up, to be able to go to school and have education, to own property, to vote, and to earn equal salary as men. They can’t even love who they want, because arranged marriages were allowed back then. As for homosexual women, they’re only accepted if they hide their sexuality from the public, they’re even getting hate upon.

All these are restricted to them, not because they’re anything lower than the rest, but because they are women.

Why is that fact stated above? Is that even relevant to what Women’s month is about? Of course it is. It is the overall foundation of what and why there is a Women’s month. Women’s month, celebrated the whole March of the year, is about recognizing and empowering women from all walks of life.

March is also the time to increase awareness and discuss gender equality issues, discrimination, harassment, recognizing POC women, and women in the LGBTQIA+ community, and so on. This makes children aware. If they recognize and place importance on how women have molded our society and that they’re taught to respect and look up (sometimes literally) to women, then they won’t grow up to be people who think they’re higher than women.

Back to the first question…

“We shall continue to enable and empower women, in an aim to achieve gender equality in this country. Given our score in political empowerment, we must strengthen our campaign to increase women’s political participation and representation, which is included in our Women’s Priority Legislative Agenda. As to economic and labor participation, we will further work with government agencies in engaging women, providing fair and equal wage, establishing viable working conditions, and promoting deserving women to leadership roles,” states Philippine Comission on Women’s Executive Director Atty. Kristine Rosary Yuzon-Chavez in recognizing that the Philippines has made a lot of progress in terms of gender equality.

Women weren’t treated as human beings for a big part of modern history, and most of women’s dilemma’s since then are because of men. Women lacked recognition back then, now is the time to give back. Plus, we need representation. It’s time to stop silencing women. Without women, none of us will exist, right?

Women aren’t objects to be thrown and played around. They are humans, and they are entitled to their own bodies, their life decisions, and the right to speak up and stand out. It’s time to finally acknowledge that women do not just belong in the kitchen, everyone should learn how to cook for themselves for it is a life skill, not just something women need to do.

There need not be any question with the womanhood of queer women. Body hair and discoloration in a woman’s body is normal, we’re humans after all. Women are strong, and they CAN lead. They lead companies, schools, states, and countries to good shape. Whatever a man can do, a woman can do as good, if not better.

Leaving the quote “Babae ka, hindi babae lang,” is the best way to end this. Mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, workers, and so on — women have been strong for centuries. A month-long celebration to see who they are is nothing compared to all they have been through. It is the least we could do.

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