Letters to the Editor

When women are the problem

The Philippine Star

Since we have been advocates of Women Empowerment for about 24 years now, we have made great strides in making sure there are more women represented in corporate boards, in government corporations and even in non-profits. But these successes are not without challenges. Sometimes the barriers to women getting ahead are also women.

“It’s meritocracy” they claim. “It’s not the skirt, it’s the brain,” others echo. Can you imagine women being the very problem for other women to rise up in the corporate ladder? But it happens. Perhaps some women just want to hog the limelight and do not wish others to succeed like they have. Diversity has been proven to increase profitability of corporations, and this is why women are needed to achieve diversity in all kinds of groups, boards and even associations that usually are male-dominated.

Now, it is not only corporate boards we are concerned about, but also government positions. We often hear mixed opinions about women leaders. “Ay basta babae, di ko iboboto (I will not vote for any woman).” Why? It is so easy to forget that women, like our mothers, are just as or even more qualified than some men to run a household, a company and even a country! Why the bias?

Is it lack of education? Where books used in our schools project women as the weaker sex, as a housewife and the father as the bread winner?

Is it lack of role models? We have had many stateswomen like Leticia Ramos Shahani, Helena Z. Benitez, Estefania Aldaba-Lim and lately Ambassador Beth Buensuceso, Ambassador Delia Domingo Albert and many more.

Does it not start from the home? Are not our mothers role models of strength, tenacity and resilience?

Does it start in school? Do we not become school representatives and leaders even if we are young girls or young women?

So I do not know where this bias comes from. While other countries have admired us for having more women senior executives in most surveys, we fail in the home, in the local scene and even now that we are to elect our next leaders.

How do we teach our young girls that there is a future that is gender-blind? How do we teach our young girls to develop to their true potential?

Let’s not look at the men all the time. The issue may be with our own kind, our own gender, our kabaro (same gender) who, despite the domestic abuse suffered from men, despite being challenged by our male counterparts,  just take it and swallow it. And keep quiet. And stay muted.

Who will you blame? The women leaders who wish to change things so you will have a better life as a woman? Why is there a bias towards women who want to lead and undertake reforms?

Help me understand our own kind. Because if we do not change their view of women leaders, our women will continue to be the quiet, muted victims of a male-dominated society.

“Because if we  change nothing, nothing  will  change.” Tony Robbins – Chit U. Juan , Makati City

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