Women power

A SPIRITED SOUL - Jeannie E. Javelosa -

Women make the world go ‘round... oops don’t let the men read this! Seriously though, women’s way of loving is what makes the world a softer and gentler place. So it is a glaring issue to see the statistics of breast cancer rising. This is because energetically, breast cancer is also related to the energy center of the heart, which rules the way love is expressed. Today, the breast cancer statistics is staggering and this is now considered a serious health issue. The Philippine Cancer Registry lists more than 10,000 cases with a mortality rate of 40 percent, and the numbers go up annually. The Philippine Cancer Society recently declared breast cancer as the number one cancer in the Philippines. At present, the country now holds the highest incidence rate of breast cancer in the Asian region and is considered to have the ninth highest incidence rate in the world.

OK, so does that mean that women are being told to love and express their heartfelt emotions more? To heal whatever pain they hold in their hearts and nurture themselves? Of course, we need to look closely at how women are also affected by toxic lifestyles, food and environment.

My first awareness and stand for the advocacy for breast cancer was because two high school friends who passed away because of this: Marisette Galang and Anne Marie Montemar. I saw the drastic changes it made to their lives, saw cancer slowly take over their bodies and saw their individual spiritual journeys strengthen with resolve and bravery as they moved on. They inspire me for life and every time breast cancer is mentioned, I make my stand in remembrance of them.

All of us women should educate ourselves on the condition of breast cancer — from risk factors to symptoms. We all need to read up and guard ourselves by understanding the factors that can increase breast cancer risks, as well as knowing the signs and symptoms to look out for. First we need to really be aware and take preventive measures (such as good healthy lifestyle, cultivating loving and soul-filling relationships), plus annual mammogram tests once we get to our late thirties and onwards.

Avon, the company for women, is a leading global beauty company, with almost $9 billion in annual revenue. It is the company that has embraced women, with CSRs focused on skills and livelihood training, and soon, speaking up for domestic violence. However, Avon’s largest advocacy is for breast cancer. In the Philippines, Avon continues to sponsor walk, runs and marketing and promotional campaigns for proceeds that go to help breast cancer patients. At PGH, the company has put up the Breast Cancer Center that has helped more than 200,000 women. Six other hospitals (some in the provinces) benefit through equipment donations and radiology training from the company. To date, the Avon Walk has raised almost P20M and has rallied more than 110,000 people to walk for the cause.

Avon Philippines president and GM Mike Gudgin stressed his company’s continued commitment to the advocacy stating that Avon has donated $640 million globally to fund research and support women stricken with this disease.

The 2010 Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer (KGBC) campaign invites all to Step Out Against Breast Cancer, this year’s series of Walk and Run events scheduled for October. The walk events will be held today at SM MOA Open Grounds and SM Bacolod; Oct.10 at Avon Cagayan de Oro and SM Lucena; and Oct. 17 at SM Baguio; while run events will be held today at SM MOA Open Grounds, and Oct. 10 at Avon Cagayan de Oro. Another way to support the cause is via purchase of selected products like limited edition T-shirts, the Avon Naturals Water Lily and Aloe Hand and Body Lotion where a percentage of sales are earmarked for the breast cancer fund.


Meanwhile, on another subject I hold great respect for women who have achieved remarkable accomplishments because of taking incalculable risks. In a man’s world, a woman must hurdle challenges and face risks to prove her worth. Specifically, in the world of science, men dominate and the women must be courageous enough to take risks in order to prevail.

Another women’s brand that celebrates women in the field of science is L’Oréal. The company, in partnership with UNESCO, recently awarded a pioneering woman named Prof. Lourdes Cruz as the first Filipino Laureate of L’Oréal-UNESCO’s For Women in Science (FWIS) and the first Laureate from the Southeast Asian region. She is a National Scientist and professor at the Marine Science Institute at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Cruz’s study on the toxins extracted from tropical marine snails provided the medical world with powerful tools to study the brain function, through the development of pain relievers and drugs to fight epilepsy and other neurological disorders. She devoted her life to scientific research and was not discouraged by the rejections she received along the way. Her hard work paid off and she was awarded with a $100,000 grant which she, in turn, donated to the Rural Livelihood Incubator (LINC), an NGO she established in 2001.

The program Women in Science is L’Oréal’s way of supporting excellence in scientific research and increasing opportunities for women in science. UNESCO is another institution that pushes for gender equality, supporting projects that promote sustainable development through education, the sciences, culture and information. Since 1998, L’Oréal and UNESCO have awarded numerous women scientists all over the world for their groundbreaking work in scientific research. Notably, two FWIS Laureates were awarded in 2009 with the Nobel Prize in Science and Medicine. I was surprised to discover that in the last 109 years of existence of the Nobel Prizes in science, only 2.9 percent of the Nobel Laureates are women. This is not to say that women are less brilliant than men (we all know that this is far from the truth), instead the figure is an eye-opener that women around the world do not have a free and open access to the resources to help advance science.

If in a global scale, men outnumber the women in the field of science, here in the Philippines, it is a different story. Women outnumber the men and the gap is rising as universities have more Filipino women studying to become scientists and researchers. They say women make great scientists because of women’s ability to be patient. Research work takes a huge deal of patience because of the repeated tests to be conducted to prove or disprove something.

Our women scientists face the challenges that come with living in a Third World country. Funding is a major concern due to the lack of financial support of government and private institutions. Scientists have to seek their own grants to pursue a scientific research and we are not talking about a small chunk of money. With this concern in mind, I am glad to share that the FWIS National Fellowships was finally launched in the Philippines this month. L’Oréal and UNESCO partnered with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to help Filipino women scientists in their pursuit of scientific innovations. The DOST recognizes the dire need of financial support to science in general, more so for our women scientists who have dedicated their lives to developing advancements in our society. This is a great collaboration between the government and the private sector to produce innovative research studies that will benefit the Filipino people.

Woman, take care of yourself as you help make the world a better place to live in — either through loving well, or using your mind and talents for the betterment of all!

(L’Oréal-UNESCO is open to proposals for fellowship grants. To know more about FWIS National Fellowships-Philippines, log on to www.fwis.com.ph or e-mail [email protected] or call +632 893-5642 loc. 156.)

(Also check out www.avonkgbcphilippines.com to make a stand for breast cancer.)










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