Did you know that in the Asia Pacific region, Filipino women are the least likely to experience sexism (read: discrimination, prejudice, stereotyping against women on account of sex)? That 63 percent of Filipinas consider sexual fulfillment as important in life while 70 percent strongly agree that sexual fulfillment is not just for the young? That 58 percent of today’s Filipinas would delay getting married and having children and instead focus first on their careers (they won’t think twice about trading baby’s nappies for trophies they may snag in the workplace)?
These are some of the highlights of the “Filipina Next: A J. Walter Thompson Women’s Forum” unveiled at an event that coincided with the worldwide celebration of International Women’s Day last March 8. The respondents included Filipino women, aged 18 to 70 years old and coming from A to E socio-economic classes.
“Comparing the results of Female Tribes (a study on women around the world conducted by JWT Global) with FilipinaNext, it is astonishing to note that despite popular belief that the Philippines is largely a macho society, our local study saw that 85 percent of Pinays believe that there has never been a better time to be a woman while 96 percent believe femininity is a strength, rather than a weakness,” says the upbeat Golda Roldan, JWT Philippines managing director.
No better time to be a woman, yes, and no finer day than now to celebrate femininity with outstanding Filipinas like Rep. Pia Cayetano, champion of women’s and children’s rights; Olympic weightlifting champ Hidilyn Diaz; Armie Jarin-Bennett, president of CNN Philippines; Trickie Lopa, one of the spirits behind the much-talked-about Art Fair Philippines; Issa Cabreira, Globe Telecom senior vice president/head of consumer mobile marketing; Melissa Henson, Manulife Philippines senior VP/chief marketing officer; and Tina Sabarre, Johnson & Johnson Philippines country director, retail.
These women, who successfully (and gracefully) juggle the nerve-wracking demands of home and career, prove beyond a doubt that the modern Filipina has found her voice, power, and purpose in life — and she’s not afraid to use them.
Other highlights of the study:
• Chances are, she’s the one who’s bringing home the bacon (while her husband or partner is the one who cooks it). She’s the one who manages the family coffers. Globally, 50 percent of women consider themselves as the primary breadwinners, while 80 percent of Filipinas identify themselves as the main household purchasers, and 73 percent say they make the majority of financial decisions at home.
On a sore note, Filipinas find handling finances to be quite a challenge, with 59 percent admitting that they spend more than they earn. Thus, 81 percent of Pinays worry most about money.
• While 95 percent of Filipinas feel that technology is made by men for men (with only 41 percent of women in it), 85 percent believe that technology empowers them while 89 percent say it has given them a voice.
• Sixty-eight percent of Filipinas (vis-a-vis 54 percent of their global counterparts) believe that having a “me” time is important. The stress is on de-stressing — just spending time by yourself and getting in touch with the inner you.
• Forty-seven percent of Filipinas measure success in terms of achieving a higher level of religious or spiritual awareness. Amen.
• Having female role models motivate Filipinas. Forty-one percent are inspired to take risks that they otherwise would not have taken; 40 percent to be more ambitious; 33 percent to go to school; 15 percent to leave an abusive relationship.
Based on the study, who do our Filipinas look up to as their role models? The top three are: the late Senator Miriam Santiago, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Lea Salonga.
Seventy-six percent of Filipinas believe there are “too many superficial female celebrities and role models in the country.” Ninety-eight percent assert the importance of establishing strong and substantial women on TV and in the movies.
On the other hand, Pinays really don’t have to look far for inspiration: 94 percent feel that women in general need to step up and serve as mentors to young girls.
Roldan points out, “Our study shows that Filipinas want to be mentored and to mentor. Hence, JWT Philippines is introducing a new internship program specifically for women called ‘Babaelang: A tribe of women for women.’ Through this, we hope to raise the next Filipina giants in advertising, marketing, and communications.”
Indeed, the hand that rocks the cradle rocks!