Select Page

Don’t forget your kids! Number 1 commitment for a working mom

Despite all of the troubles of the past year and a half, I always remember my commitment to my children’s growth and development. It is easy to get swept away from the problems and challenges of everyday life that we forget to also focus on our children and family. They can serve as a source of strength and support during those low moments and will be the reason why we get up in the morning to face another day.

My children are my number one priority. I make sure that I continue to stay involved in their lives, spending my free time with them. I shared my thoughts and feelings of what was happening during the challenges experienced by AHEAD because of the K-12 transition. It is always my hope they get valuable lessons from my stories and be more knowledgeable if a similar situation happens to them in the future.

When they were kids, I made it an extra effort to be 1 hour away from where they are. Sometimes, I would even follow a few kilometers away during their school field trips. The main office of AHEAD was moved to Katipunan, Quezon City when my children started going to school in the area. I want them to feel safe and supported. They can always count on me for help if they needed it.

But I also make sure not to spoil my kids even if as a mom, I want to give the best to my children. However, it is more important they learn how to stand up on their own two feet, and realize that it takes effort to succeed. I want to impart the skills and knowledge my children will need in the outside world while they are still in a safe and loving environment. To teach them about responsibility, I assign them work around the household such as managing the grocery budget. One of my kids even handled it too well, with me ending up haggling to include milk in the list because he would say that it was expensive.

I try to set a good example to inspire them to do their best in achieving their goals. I shared with them the core values that I practice and they were happy to adopt them as their own. We have family meetings to talk about our mission, vision and goals as a team. My heart is happy to see them also passionate about the same advocacy as me. The advocacy of education for the less fortunate.

Together as a family, we are launching a monthly training program for school principals under AHEAD. Investing in the development of principals will create a domino effect of excellence in the school system. Good principals lead to good teachers; good teachers will produce good students, and good students will become productive members of society. It is an amazing feeling to have the whole family working towards the same goal.

Being a working mom is a tough job especially when you are experiencing challenges both in career and health. But it is worth it when we remember the reason why we are working hard and striving for the best. It is for the happiness and success of our kids.

This Mother’s Day, I give honor to all the working moms out there who stay committed despite the trials. Our love for our children knows no limits, making us stronger. Cheers to all mothers out there. You can do it!

Best Careers for Women in the Philippines

Best Careers for Women in the Philippines

Women have worked their way up the corporate ladder in many industries. Gone are the days when women stay home and just do household works, today women are excelling in many fields and have been viewed as important contributors in the workforce. So the challenge sometimes isn’t so much to find job openings but to find the best careers that will help you achieve your #LifeGoals. We’ve listed up five careers that suit our modern day super Filipina.

IT Services

IT services made its way to the top of Jobstreet’s list of highest-paying jobs in the Philippines in 2016. Although the industry has been traditionally dominated by men, women are seen to be slightly dominating the science and technology industry in the Philippines according to an infographic released by Rappler in 2014. This means that women are not having such a tough time entering a male dominated industry that pays such high wages. Even those with minimal experience can sign contracts with their salaries reaching 38,000 pesos. Not bad, right?

Law/Legal

As we see in television and movies, learning legal matters may be a pain in the neck. This may sound like a cliché, but hard work does pay off! Law/Legal profession also made its way to the list of highest-paying jobs in the Philippines. It also shows that we have an equal amount of men and women in this industry. So to all women law students reading this, hang in there! Your sleepless nights and bottles of coffee will pay off when you enter the workforce.

Human Resource

Society has traditionally aligned women’s choice of career to social sciences or anything in the liberal arts and women have constantly tried to break away from this stereotype. But if your heart is happier in the management of workforce, no judgments! Human resource is a career not only dominated by women, by 72% but also one of the jobs that will surely offer big compensation package. In the Philippines, it is recorded that a Human Resource manager earns up to about an average of 65,000 pesos.

Financial Services

While people expect women to be good at management related jobs, very few expect them to be good at math. Don’t let that judgment hinder you from getting the huge compensation that finance industry offers. If you’re really bad at math, though, no worries! Services in the financial industry also encompass strategists and the like, which a lot of our smart women are good at.  This is clearly evident because in 2014 about 69% of the workforce in this industry is women.

Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising

Women have always been creative, what a better way to use this creativity than to turn your passion into your career! Public relations placed 6th in the recent Jobstreet Salary Report for 2017 of highest-paying jobs, while advertising and media planning was at 10th and in these jobs, women have dominated by 62%. You’re not only using your creativity as your life career, as a bonus you also get good pay for it! Jobs in this industry has a salary range of 24,000 to 26,000 for those who have minimal experience. Nice deal, right?

 

Many job openings come and go in the Philippine job market but no matter what career you choose, always remember to love what you do. It’s when you choose the career you love when you get the greatest return. Because a modern-day super Filipina is not only smart but also passionate!

 

Written by Love Gardose

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is International Women’s Day and what better way to celebrate it than to give tribute to all the hardworking women in the world.

For the longest time, society has dictated what women should do, where they should work, what they should wear and where they should go. That’s not the case anymore. Today, women are working their way up in male-dominated fields.

More and more women are occupying the highest seats in the biggest companies in the world.There are also iconic women rising to the top of public service. And incredibly, women are slowly being known as great influencers.

Smartsuperwomen.com was created in 2011 to help women from all walks of life reach their fullest potential. To celebrate its 7th year, this website will be improved and re-launched to meet the needs of more women in different fields. So whether you are a mother, a working woman or an entrepreneur, smartsuperwomen.com will be here to help you. It will also continue sharing stories, tips and informative articles which can serve as a woman’s guide in everyday living. These changes in the website represent the progress women have made throughout the years.

So cheers to all mothers, women in the corporate world and the business industry. Cheers to female public servants, influencers and doers. You are the reason why we celebrate today.

Why It Pays to Invest in Women

Why It Pays to Invest in Women

If you believe that it’s only in emerging economies like the Philippines that issues such as double standards, gender-related salary imbalance, and the glass ceiling still exist, think again.

Globally, in both developed and developing countries, “girls and women battle commonly held views and beliefs that limit their opportunities and potential,” including myths such as “women are better suited for baby-making than money-making,” says Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver, a global advocate for investing in the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women.

“The truth is, women around the world are resourceful economic agents, overcoming persistent, gender-based barriers every day,” says Iversen in a recent article for the World Economic Forum entitled “7 Myth-Busting Reasons We Should be Investing in women.”

She adds that women have demonstrated they can build informal and formal businesses out of very little capital, create networks to maximize limited resources, all while shouldering the traditional responsibilities placed upon them, duties like child- and home-care.

“Women succeed in spite of laws, policies and institutions that hold them back, but it is a constant struggle. It is time to create supportive environments for women to thrive economically, and bust these myths once and for all,” she declares.

In her article, she cites several myths that continue to “rob women of their power to advance themselves, their families, their communities, and ultimately, their nations.”

The myth: investing in women doesn’t pay off
The truth:
closing gender gaps will actually lead to an increase in global GDP
Iversen references a recent McKinsey Global Institute report that found that if women play an identical role in labor markets to that of men, as much US$28 trillion or 26% could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.

The myth: women’s income is not used any differently than men’s income
The truth: a greater percentage of women’s income is reinvested in their families and communities

This spending drives improved access to education, nutrition and healthcare, says Iversen. Evidence also shows that it is not merely a woman’s increased income, but rather her control over that income that helps her achieve economic empowerment.

A study in Brazil indicated that the likelihood of a child’s survival increased by 20% when the mother made financial choices. But Iversen notes that economic decisions by women are “intricately wrapped up” in cultural and social issues relating to gender, age, ethnic background, health or physical status, and overall social hierarchy.

The myth: women choose to work less than men
The truth: women shoulder a greater burden of unpaid work, and have fewer paid work opportunities

Women don’t work less than men; in fact, they often work more, Iversen stresses. The issue, she adds, is that their work is unpaid and often unregistered—rearing children and caring for the elderly rarely produces a paycheck. In some regions like South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, women shoulder up to 90% of unpaid care work. “It’s time to balance the scales,” says Iversen.

The myth: inequality ends as women’s income increases
The truth: it’s giving women control over income that ends inequality

Iversen points to evidence showing that it is not merely a woman’s increased income, but rather her control over that income that helps her achieve economic empowerment.

“When a woman holds the strings to the family purse, that family is more likely to thrive,” she says.

She notes how Brazil’s Bolsa Familia Program, which is like the Philippines’ own Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program but which provides cash transfers directly to the female head of households, was able to account for up to 25% of Brazil’s reduction in inequality and 16% of its drop in extreme poverty.

The myth: women’s groups are not necessary for economic development
The truth: women’s groups—including cooperatives, collectives, farmer groups, business associations, and trade unions—are often the only path to sustainable economic development for many women around the world

Says Iversen: “Women’s groups can offer a safe haven in which women of limited means can pool and maximize resources, manage risk, innovate and experiment, build skills and capacity, mentor and learn from one another, organize and advocate for rights, share care responsibilities, build confidence, and receive key information on everything from market information to nutritional guidance, family planning and reproductive health.”

The myth: family-friendly, gender-responsive policies are not worth the investment
The truth: In the US, every $1 invested in family planning results in $7 of savings; in developing countries like Jordan, $1 can result in as much as $16 in savings. The Copenhagen Consensus showed that every dollar spent on modern contraceptive methods will yield $120 in overall benefits.

In the case of the Philippines, the country enacted five years ago the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10354), or the Reproductive Health Law or RH Law, which guarantees universal access to methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care. However, the law’s full implementation remains on hold as critics continue to raise strong opposition to the decree.

Iversen also comments that companies that invest in family-friendly, gender-responsive policies have found high returns on their investments, including reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.

The article says that harmful myths like these “continue to limit women as they seek careers, advance in the workplace, and seek access to capital—especially in the most economically disadvantaged parts of the world.”

It further observes that such myths do not just impede women on a personal level, they also hinder their collective progress. “The data and research above tell a different story about the exponential power of women. Growth is possible. Prosperity is possible. And it becomes a reality with women in the driver’s seat,” says Iversen. – RCA

Photo: Tamaki Sono

 

My Lolo’s Pupil

By Jane Santos-Guinto

 

It was my grandfather Lolo Manny who taught me how to read. He was a journalist for the South China Morning Post, one of Hong Kong’s two largest English newspapers at the time. But on weekends, he would teach me the rudiments of consonant-vowel-consonant blending.

Lolo comes from a family of educators. Both his parents were public school teachers in Agusan del Norte, a province in Southern Philippines. Up until her death in the 1970’s, his mother Lola Victorina was the Dean of the Northern Mindanao Colleges. Dean Francisco Benitez of the University of the Philippines and Sen. Helena Benitez of the Philippine Normal University are distant relatives.

Lolo taught himself how to read when he was barely four in 1938.  By eight, he had already read Shakespeare’s entire collection, all volumes of the Encyclopedia for Children, and the Bible. World War II had broken out and children could not go to school, so Lolo Manny took care of his own education. “There was nothing else to do but read,” he would tell us his grandchildren later.

Ironically, Lolo never completed his formal education. He had married quite young, at 20, and when one child came after the next, there really was no time to study. But because he was exceptionally bright, having been a consistent honor student and later a top-scorer in the Civil Service Exam, he went on to have a career that many would consider stellar.

For a while, he taught in a public school like his parents. But when there were too many mouths to feed out of a teacher’s pay, he went to Manila and tried his luck in his real passion—writing. He wrote for the Times Journal with some of the country’s most noteworthy newsmen. At times, it still amazes me to find out whom he had worked with. In 1967, he became the first Filipino journalist to be sent by a local newspaper to Cardiff, England for a certificate course in journalism. For a time, he was one of the writers of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., one of the country’s most prominent heroes.

During Martial Law in the 1970’s with eight children, Lolo grabbed the opportunity to work in Hong Kong. This is where he mastered his craft for 20 years or so. And where he would tutor us his first few grandchildren in a tiny tenth floor apartment (or flat as the British-influenced Hong Kong Chinese would call it).

I don’t know if it was out of fear that I learned to read so quickly under my Lolo’s watch. After all, he had a feisty temper, one that I had witnessed on many occasions when I was young. By five, I was writing my own stories. He would bring me to company outings and introduce me to his journalist friends. Having always been on the petite side, I would stretch out my little hand to greet his British colleagues. One time, Lolo said I told them a made-up story, The Monkey and His Briefs.

In the late 1980’s, Lolo went back to the Philippines and became the editor in chief of The Manila Times. After retirement from full-time journalism, Lolo wrote chess columns for the Philippine Star and self-published a weekly chess newsletter for the players of the Quezon City Memorial Circle’s Chess Plaza.  These days, he prefers to watch cable movies and exchange jokes with his great grandchild.  He has survived three heart attacks and professes he has “no desire for anything else from life.”

Sometimes I wish I were a more diligent pupil; that I followed his advice to read, read, and read more. My knowledge of geography and world affairs is so poor that I squirm every time my 77-year-old Lolo asks his pop-up trivia questions. I salute the University of the Philippines for a great education, but I still feel inept in many areas. There are so many things I wish I knew more about.

I just hope that my own children would have a trickle of Lolo’s brilliance in their blood and pray every day that they would come soon enough to meet my first teacher and greatest mentor, their great grandfather Lolo Manuel O. Benitez, Sr.

 

The Drive to Achieve

By Mari-An C. Santos

 

Our family is not wealthy. My father is the eldest son among eight of a welder and a housewife who worked part time. Growing up, he worked many odd jobs, mostly selling odds and ends, waiting outside a different church every day, depending on whose Novena day it was, e.g. Quiapo, Baclaran, etc. My mother is the daughter of a district school
supervisor and public school principal in Mindanao. They would scrimp and save every last centavo until the next teachers’ salary came from the government, literally making ends meet for five children.

But both my parents value education. My father was a working student all his life and so, it was no wonder that he went into economics. My mother took up nursing at the advice of her grandparents and came to Manila to work. Later, they were both employed by a top multinational corporation, where they met.

My parents worked hard to send me and my sister to a school that they deemed would teach us not only the basic R’s, but also impart positive values that they too shared. We did not always have enough money to “keep up with the Joneses” at the school, but we did manage to have all the basic school supplies and participate in most relevant school activities like field trips and class projects. As a child, I did not fully appreciate why I could not afford to buy a Trapper Keeper or the latest pair of Keds or Reeboks.

It is in hindsight, of course, that everything makes sense. My father was very strict about maintaining good grades all through my grade school and high school years. He forbade watching TV on weekday nights—even going as far as locking up the TV case so that the time was devoted only to studying. When the time came after every quarter of the school year to claim the school cards, I trembled before seeing my grades. If I had a low grade or a lower grade than the previous quarter, my father would sit down with me and find out exactly what went wrong. He was tough, as most Filipino parents are, and put a great emphasis on high grades.

In grade school, I lived up to my potential and was part of what was called the “interdisciplinary classes” from fourth until sixth grade. In our school, we took an exam at the sixth grade to find out if we could go on to high school or stay one more year in grade school. I passed the exam.

In high school, I was placed in the “honors class” where we had to excel in the academic subjects. I dreaded the end of the schoolyear, as inevitably, some of our classmates were transferred to other classes. Thankfully, I graduated as part of the same class, and among the top of my batch.

In college, even though I lived near the university and enjoyed greater freedom, I found that I took with me the drive to excel in my studies. I was a college scholar every semester and I graduated cum laude. I was so proud to have my
parents on stage to award me on graduation day. It was, after all, due to their efforts that I received such an achievement.

Even when I was working, the drive that my parents instilled in me to excel was very strong. I made the most of every opportunity to learn and to be the best that I could be—whether it was as a production assistant or as a segment producer or as a scriptwriter.

When I began to pursue higher education, it was of my own initiative, not at the prodding of anyone else. I felt that I wanted to learn more and more every day. Although I had to abandon what I started when I moved from the capital city, I found more and other ways to learn from new experiences and new people I met in new places.

Now, that I am pursuing a degree with a scholarship, I value much more the good basic foundation that I have—thanks to my parents’ efforts and the education that they helped me achieve. Without such good foundation and records, how would I get a scholarship that would enrich me and fund my day-to-day expenses? That is why I strongly believe that good education is of primary importance in every person’s life, whether we can see it at present or not. The adage is true: a good education is something that can never be taken away from us.