For a woman, empowerment is a constant search. It isn’t something easily given by society; it is something that women must always seek and built on your own. Sadly, in this day and age, women empowerment is largely still denied to women.
The empowerment of women requires gravity and validation. To gain it, the empowerment of women requires breaking stereotypes and redefining standards. It demands a magnitude of support and empathy to be possessed. But even with how many barriers it takes, history is filled with women empowered. And these women empowered become the foundation of women empowerment for future generations.
The sad truth is, women empowerment isn’t seen as a priority in the Philippines. With problems around health, politics, and the economy, the empowerment of women is the least of the people’s concerns. But what most Filipinos--influenced with a patriarchal perspective--miss is the importance of women empowerment.
The empowerment of women is a step closer to collective success. Women empowered inspire women and men that create ripples of change. Women empowerment is a powerful force. With it, your life changes; you see beyond life, and you become an inspiration. You become a source of women empowerment for other women.
These women exude a moveable force that can spark change. We experience it every day. Just think about your mother, your older sister, a friend or an inspiring woman in your life. When you see them being themselves and doing what they are best at, somehow it brings pride in your heart and you say to yourself, “I want to be like her. I will be like her.” These empowered women are the ultimate source of your empowerment.
Aside from the women in your life, the empowerment of women has always been part of Philippine history despite its hurdles. And like most of the world, history keeps mum about these women, highlighting heavily the achievements of men. But there are a lot of women empowered who changed the course of history, laying and defining the women empowerment that we have come to know now. They have defined the empowerment of women before it became an outspoken term in mainstream culture. These women empowered were sources of strength and compassion in the midst of catastrophe. They held on women empowerment as a weapon and a shield.
For you to be inspired and cultivate your sense of empowerment, we give you Filipino heroines whose stories exude bravery, success, and achievements. These Filipinas have marked history and sealed it with empowerment of women.
A single mother of six children, Tandang Sora expressed bravery by being true to her innate sensibility as a woman—to be kind and nurturing. She risked her life for taking care of Andres Bonifacio and other Katipuneros in 1896. When she was arrested by the Spanish authorities, even with grueling interrogations, she refused to give information about the Katipuneros.
She became a symbol of the empowerment of women during the time when women didn’t have a voice.
With an extraordinary story, and truly one of those women empowered, Magdalena Leones was a Filipino spy during World War II. Speaking the Japanese language, Leones used her close connections with American missionaries that led her to this heroic act, becoming an intelligence officer for the United States Army Forces. During her arrest, Leones used her sweet and calm demeanor as a woman to bribe the Japanese guards and escape.
Josefa Llanes Escoda
Known for her social works and as a war heroine, Escoda was involved in aiding war prisoners during World War II. She helped women and children which led to her execution, after being arrested and tortured. She also founded the Girl Scout of the Philippines and trained them to be women empowered.
As a suffragette, Escoda had strong opinions about women empowerment and how women empowered movement could change the landscape of Philippine society. She defined the empowerment of women: “The modern woman is no longer the wife that clings; she now helps the husband. The women’s demand for independence is motivated by their desire to help their husbands in governmental affairs which always required the moderation and wisdom of women.”
An Ilocana warrior, Silang is known for her bravery and leadership as the first Filipina to lead an uprising against foreign conquerors. After her husband’s assassination in 1763, Silang assumed the role to be the commander of the troop, carrying the war against Spain and launching guerrilla attacks, earning her the title of “Henerala”. Despite losing to the Spanish General, her name became synonymous with courage and what it means to be women empowered.
These women are the symbols that established the empowerment of women in the Philippines. They are women who are beyond their time, who changed the course of history, and who inspired not only women but also men. And they are women empowered by embracing their womanhood and redefining the norms. These women started women empowerment for modern Filipino women to seek and build their sense of power.