We live in a modern world where women are now celebrated and admired for succeeding in spite of the challenges we experience. Society has opened up and allowed women in management and government positions. More and more women leaders around the world are making positive changes that inspire younger girls to take up space and become their own heroes. Although we have yet to fully break the glass ceiling, we have already managed to accomplish a lot of milestones that are helping other women reach their full potentials.
Ms Rossana LLenado, founder of Smart Super Women, a website that shares real-life women success stories and caters to women’s needs through job opportunities, said that it’s important for women to take care of their holistic growth and well-being. In her insightful talk through Facebook live, she shared six ways women can invest in themselves.
1. Take care of your body. No matter how busy you are, always exercise. Go outside your house for a few minutes just to get some sunlight. You can also take a 15-minute walk or do basic stretching. These activities will help strengthen your body. You can avoid illnesses caused by an unhealthy lifestyle by being physically fit and by eating a balanced diet. Getting enough sleep and taking vitamins also help in boosting our immune system especially during this global pandemic. Also, try to learn a few self-defense techniques, it might come in handy.
2. Your mental health matters. Find a few minutes to relax and clear your thoughts every now and then. Good mental health can be practiced by clearing our minds and getting rid of toxic thoughts. It’s also good to keep on learning every day. Having a mentor who will teach you life lessons, new skills, and stress-management will help you go a long way. They will guide you in making wiser choices and good decisions. As Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
3. Maintain your social connections. Marriage and kids can be very demanding especially if you’re also working. Now that we have more time at home due to the quarantine period, we can use these extra hours to reach out to friends we haven’t talked to for years or to say hello to our relatives and family members. Maintaining social connections are crucial in our growth and they also help us release built-up stress from work and home. It’s not easy to connect but it’s always worth it.
4. Stay away from negative people. Social media feeds are full of negative posts and bad news which apparently take a toll on your psychological well-being. That’s why it’s important to choose which information you want to consume. It’s okay to unfollow negative people and to stay away from news that is stressful. Try to read positive contents, consume therapeutic art, and listen to relaxing music. These will help you develop a positive mindset and hopeful attitude. It is also necessary for you as a woman, to be kinder to yourself especially when you make mistakes.
5. Save up for the rainy days. Millions of people lost their livelihood this year and it’s a reminder for everyone to always prepare for the rainy days. If you have yet to learn how to save and invest, now is your time. Learn how to manage your finances and always save a portion of what you earn. Do not spend on unnecessary items and create an emergency fund. Remember, if you save your money today, it will save you tomorrow.
6. Keep the faith. Always pray and ask for guidance every day. Start your day with a grateful and open heart. Have faith that everything will work out as long as you put in the necessary effort and hard work. There will be times where you will go off-course but those times won’t last. If you didn’t receive a blessing yet, become the blessing for others. Because when you keep your faith, help will always be given to you.
Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash
By Rowena Diocton
“Wala ka pang boyfriend? (You don’t have a boyfriend yet?)” and “Kailan ka magpapakasal? (When are you getting married?)” are only two of the typical questions Filipino women are asked during family reunions. Because of this, many Filipinas dread going to reunions or reading their aunts’ comments on social media.
Despite the hype on women’s empowerment, some Filipinas stay bound to self-limiting beliefs, such as that women should scramble to get married and have children. Their dreams are limited to boxes in the spectrum of “child rearing,” “budgeting,” and “housekeeping.”
They are also expected to marry earlier than men. On average, most Filipino women get married at 24, while men get married at 27, according to the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index 2015. The report also reveals that five out of 100 women (5%) marry between 15 and 19 years of age.
Even societies abroad generally view Filipino women with less regard than they’re worth. “Dating,” “marriage,” and “scandals” are only a few of the top results when you type “Filipina,” “Filipino woman,” or “Pinay” on a quick Google search. It seems the world seeks Filipinas either to marry or to spend a good time with. Somehow, their other contributions to the world are buried.
It’s already 2017, so why are a number of Filipinas still stuck in this outdated box? Here are four ways to step up and join the ranks of the 21st-century Filipina superwomen this year.
Be Part of Positive Social Change
If Concepcion Felix-Calderon and Pura Villanueva Kalaw of Asociacion Femenista Filipina had sat idly by during the first half of the 20th century, Filipino women wouldn’t be enjoying the right to vote that we do today. We need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. So ask yourself: What can I offer to society to make it more just?
Rethink the Way You Treat Your Body
In Asia, social and economic growth has sadly coincided with the rise of eating disorders. Access to social media sites has allowed real-time body-shaming comments against celebrities like Jessy Mendiola and Ina Raymundo. This year, resolve to embrace a more positive body image and join body positive movements like plump.ph and #blackgirlmagic—and start something confidently beautiful within yourself.
Dip into the Wealth of Available Data
At least 4.66 billion Web pages were reportedly online as of mid-March 2016. Roughly 130 million books have been written as of 2010, according to Google. Anyone can now take massive open online courses at her own time, thanks to sites like Coursera, Edx, Khan Academy, TED-Ed, Udacity, Udemy, Lynda, and a lot more. Using available information, why not join important discourses that can affect the Filipina way of life and let your opinion be heard?
Sit at the Career Table
In several countries in the Asia Pacific, men often get 15% to 30% more in annual base pay than women, with females excluded in part due to the nature of the job, manager bias, and workforce policies. While it’s vital that organizations address the disparity, we can also play our part.
In 2010, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg discussed the reasons why there are too few women leaders. Filipina career women should take Sandberg’s cue and learn to negotiate for ourselves at work, delegate equal tasks to our partners at home, and kick ass at work even as we plan for a family.
While one year may not be enough to produce a radical change in you or in society, this year is a good place to start taking gradual steps. Your elders may keep asking you about your single or family life, but this time you’ll have a fuller answer to give. Your male colleagues may still get paid more, but you’re already taking on the training needed to move up. Trying and not reaching your goals is not failure; what can set you up for failure is not having holistic and resilient goals toward self-empowerment.
Photo: Ali Edwards