As Women’s Month draws to a close this year, we turn our thoughts to some inspiring women.
In the struggle for equality, several have women have risen up to challenge the glass ceilings societies have placed on them.
Eva Peron, former First Lady of Argentina who campaigned for the poor. Maya Angelou, a woman of African descent who used art to fight for civil rights in the United States. Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who bravely defied the Taliban and champions human rights to this day.
These are but a few of the inspiring women who have made a difference.
There is no shortage of inspiring women. This is why we wanted to look inward.
In OLX Philippines, nearly half of all employees (49%) are women. Some have risen to manager-level positions. Meanwhile, there are also those who have even risen to the top leadership level.
We asked them, “Who are the inspiring women you look up to and how have they influenced you?”
Head of HR for OLX Southeast Asia Sondang Saktion for one, looks up to her eldest sister. “She was very disciplined and has always ensured all things are done in the right way. She was also always at the top rank at school. In short she was the role model for us,” she says.
Looking back, Sondang says her sister empowered her to always excel just as she did. It goes to show that one can empower each other by simply doing their best.
Empowering Each Other
B2B Marketing Head, Me-Anne Bundalian says she looks up to American TV personality Ellen Degeneres.
“In a world full of uncertainties and hatred, a small act of goodness can always go a long way beyond our expectations. I may not be able to change the world, but she always reminds me that I could make a day better and happier for someone,” she says.
One woman Me-Anne would salute in particular is the mother of Social Media and Content Marketing Manager Michelle Ignacio. Michelle says she is grateful for how her mother raised her and her brother to be strong. All the while, Michelle’s mother also raised them as the sole breadwinner.
Despite raising them somewhat strictly, Michelle’s mother showed them the importance of caring for others. “What I particularly love about my nanay is her resilience. Despite everything she’s going through, she made sure that we weren’t affected by her problems, even if we were part of it,” she jokingly says.
Through these various influences, Michelle proudly does her work in a managerial position, making sure to live out the lessons she has learned from her two mother figures.
A Mother’s Strength
Michelle isn’t the only woman with a high position inspired by mother figures. Marketing Head Jean Magboo shares how her mother influenced her. “I idolize a lot of women but it’s really my mom. She’s very resilient. She always manages to stay on top of things.”
Mothers are indeed among the best examples of resilience. Digital Ad Operations Manager Monette de Leon shares how she looks up to the Blessed Virgin Mary figure of Roman Catholicism.
Monette sees the same resilience in her own mother who battled cancer with strength and selflessness.
Women Empowerment as Legacy
Through their resilience, mother’s leave important marks for the succeeding generations. In the face of adversity, women are capable of rising up and in doing so, build a foundation for others.
Product Designer Karen Banzon says her lola is one of the most influential women of her life. Karen recounts how her lola taught her to read from an early age. Because of this, Karen had a leg up when it came to school. She said she always felt like she was playing instead of studying.
Karen says her lola built a strong foundation strengthened by her mother. “I’m adventurous and know how to take risks because they build that solid foundation.”
The previous generation of women definitely have much to teach us. Freelance videographer Monica Mendoza knows this quite well.
As someone who lived through the horrors of the Second World War, Monica’s grandmother gave her a sense of history. Monica shares how through her grandmother, she gained a “broader perspective on the spectrum of life.”
Despite all the horror her grandmother witnessed, Monica recalls how she saw in her 92-year old grandmother’s eyes, a strong will to continue living and loving.
The Struggle Continues
There is no shortage of inspiring women. Yet the struggle for equality continues.
As we have seen, women of all statures can do something to contribute to the struggle for equality. Whether one is the wife of a president, a student, a writer, or a mother, all women have something to contribute. History connects all women together, calling them to unite to continue the struggle for a better world. All women have the power to inspire others to stand up for themselves and make their own paths.
To all women, may we continue to strive for the world we all deserve. May we build a world where women are free to become who they wish to be without fear of violence.