I could have been a man. If I were so, this would have been someone else’s cup of tea. But I am a woman. I have the distinct birthright to represent the other half of humanity, the female specie. This representation is my authority, my privilege and my accountability to the world.
Women empowerment is my piece. I preach woman power with my life. It is my breadth, my depth, my game, my journey, my voice. My life spells out woman power from womb to tomb. Womanhood is my doctrine, and women empowerment is my mission and vision.
It is with joy, pride and gratitude that I take this most opportune chance to tackle the issue of woman power in this year’s annual celebration of the International Day of Women come March 8, 2011. Let me assure you I can write my piece by heart, with ease and strength, with confidence and influence.
There is a much stronger motivation than simply writing about woman power. For me this is a challenge to illustrate the essence of the role of women in humanity – how women power works. I was raised and bred by a relatively chauvinistic father who believed that “a woman’s place is in the home”. As you now see, I am right here standing on my own place under the sun, lending a hand to change the world in solidarity with men and women around me.
I spent my adolescence in a male-dominated university, amidst the dogma of male conservatism at the heart of a Muslim civilization, as I pursued my college education in Mindanao State University in the Islamic City of Marawi in Southern Philippines. As a student, I was one of the pioneer auxiliaries of an exclusive male fraternity, the International Order of DeMolay. I stand firmly as a woman among men, a distinct individual among human beings, correctly certain that my belonging is my ownership.
In the three decades of my career, I have witnessed and worked with women in our continuous struggle to push our respective communities and our country towards progress and sustainable development. My stints in the country’s male-dominated steel monopoly and power industry gave me the opportunity to work with women in implementing, planning and critical decision-making, in giant corporations and in the hierarchy of public service. Women have been joining hands and sharing responsibilities with men as reliable and productive citizens, to keep the Philippine economy afloat, with the economic conversion of their services, skills and talents.
Moreover, my stint with the government’s peace process showed me how women conquer their grievous plights in the battlefields and refugee camps, with mothers, wives, sisters and daughters keeping their families intact despite destitution and homelessness; standing up for their rights as human beings; and stepping forward to raise awareness and issues for resolution. I see the strength of womanhood displayed in one caring and sharing community to make it through poverty, devastation and insecurity in war zones and conflict-affected areas.
Through my life I have proved my worth and professed my power as a woman. Woman power is my fair share in confronting the present and the future of the world. It strikes me bad that there is so much of women power wasted in societies where opportunities for women are limited and limiting; where their capabilities and potentials are underrated and untapped. A woman is a powerhouse of resources. Together, women can unburden much of the weight of the world, from confronting economic problems to addressing armed conflicts.
As a woman, my word is my motivation; my voice is my bond. I view women empowerment as the prime-mover of the change we want to see in humanity. There is so much work to do, and much of it the women are capable of doing. Given our place under the sun, we will move the earth.
I am convinced it is my right and responsibility to let the world know the essence and influence of women power. Women power is as relevant as it is imperative for the welfare of humanity, to change the world for the better. Truly, women power is what we need, today and always. Woman power is my best, nay, my whole! And that is exactly why I brave the chance to contribute my best and my whole in this year’s celebration of the International Day for Women.