Happy National Women's Month! Here, A Tribute to the Pinays Who Are Changing the Game
Just in time for International Women’s Day, too
There’s nothing we love more than paying witness to women succeed: in the arts, in sports, in leadership roles, in politics and beyond. While it’s true that women have had one foot in the door for some time now, the truth is that the fight for equal opportunity is far from over.
This month serves as a perfect reminder of such an undertaking. It serves as a perfect moment, too, (that we gladly claim!) to pay tribute to all the strong, brave, independent Filipinas who take that one foot in the door, use it to swing the darn thing wide open and take the world on—head-on.
Ahead, just some of the Pinays changing the game (and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them).
It comes as no surprise that Bela Padilla is a multi-hyphenate: actress, host, artist, screenwriter and producer are just some of the job titles included in her résumé. With the many hats she wears, this 27-year-old is unafraid to venture outside the confines of her comfort zone and grind hard for what she has her eye on. “When you really, really love what you’re doing, the challenges don’t really come off as something negative; it’s something exciting for me. I don’t know if that’s sadistic,” she says jokingly in an interview with Calyxta. “When I face a problem, I’m so excited to solve it—just because I feel like it will make me more experienced or I’ll have more to bring to the table the next time.”
As one of the very few female figures in local show business who work in front of (she juggles mainstream and indie projects like a pro) and behind the camera (her sixth screenwriting project Apple of My Eye came out just last month), Bela Padilla hit the ground running and is not about to slow down.
The name might not ring a bell for some, but chances are they’ve seen her work once or twice before. Her photos have many a time made rounds online here and abroad. Award-winning photojournalist and National Geographic contributor Hannah Reyes-Morales finds comfort though in letting her work speak for herself. Then there’s the fact that she’s already left a legacy as a successful photojournalist in yet another male-dominated industry.
“If I could give advice to women, particularly women in places with less resources, I’d say value your perspective. I wish I cherished my background, being a Filipino woman, earlier,” she told National Geographic. “When I was younger I spent too much time trying to form myself in shapes that I was not, because I thought that that’s what it took to be a photographer. I didn’t value the things that made me, me.”
Quezon City’s very own Sarah Elago, the Representative of the only youth party-list in Philippine Congress, doesn’t only make waves or headlines, but is set to make effective change. When she isn’t setting misled youth commissioners straight, she’s working on co-authoring important House measures such as the Anti-Political Dynasty Act and an Act Prohibiting the Practice of Labor Contractualization and Promoting Regular Employment.
At 27 years old, Elago makes history as the youngest representative in Philippine Congress and shows immense promise based on her platform and the values she holds dearly. “Like they say: I’m not just a woman, but a young woman. But I think that fighting for the rights and welfare of the sector you represent knows no gender nor age,” she told Rappler. “That should not be the first thing people think about. And because I come from the Kabataan Partylist, which has a long history of bravery, no matter who represents it, we don’t let any form of discrimination affect us.”
In the world of influencers, what makes Kimi Juan-Caja stand out is her reason for being. Through the distinctly warm manner (all wrapped in an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed) by which she invites people to take a peek into her life, she has fast become of the genuine faces of conscious living in the Philippines. She gets snaps for using her platform to advocate for a more mindful, eco-friendly lifestyle. But the best part? She walks her talk. And it works. It clicks; and it has resonated with her followers who are moved and are now slowly swapping to a more conscious way of living, too.
We have tackled how plastic straws/bottles and bags are harmful to the environment but did you know that fast fashion is the primary source of microplastic? pic.twitter.com/K8jpKlTc0h— Kimi Juan (@kimijuanphoto) February 15, 2019
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If you’re searching for the next generation of role models, leaders, movers and shakers, you’re definitely looking at them. Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!