by Junnette Andale, Vince Milbert Ganzon, Hanna Gumama, Clarence Keith Udalve
Every day, women are driving change and progress around the world. Thus, International Women’s Month, which commences every month of March, is a chance for all of us to take stock and recognize each woman’s value and accomplishments.
In line with this event, the Philippine Nurses Association of America celebrates the life of inspirational women in Nursing. As the profession dominated by women who get to grip with the biggest challenge of providing care to millions around the world using the fundamental model of utilizing the head, heart and hand, we are elated to share the impactful work across the globe of few women from the College of Nursing in Mindanao State University—Iligan Institute of Technology, which were featured in Celebrating Women’s Day Volume 9, Issue 2, March 2021 by inside PNAA, the Official Newsletter of PNAA, Inc. Those featured 3rd year Nursing students of MSU-IIT include Nasrimah R. Bagumbaran on pages 17-18, Eirah Nicole D. Jumawan on pages 27-28, and Heavenly D. Legaspino on pages 29-30.
One of the courageous acts that will transform the youth is to speak up and to lead the move, Nasrimah R. Bagumbaran, is an aspiring youth who supports the change in environmental health and in developing resilience from the initiatives and to mitigate climate related threats.
“Considering that the event was a great opportunity especially to an ordinary woman like me, it proved that nothing is impossible so long as you are determined in reaching your goals.” Nasrimah conveyed.
Through the support of her batchmates and co-officers in her organization, they revived their goal of having the seminar-workshop and clean-up drive for their community, by having a virtual meeting with them. Hopefully their humble act will commence when this pandemic ends.
Not being a healthcare professional yet did not hinder Eirah Nicole D. Jumawan in taking and maximizing space in the society even as a student-nurse. She participated in the Filipino Nurses Global Summit III and the 12th International Nursing Conference as a scholar. She also contributed her time and efforts to numerous fundraising and donation drives such as the Help Kids Project that aims to provide bond papers for the production of modules that will benefit different schools in Iligan City; donations of pre-loved clothes in collaboration with other student-nurses for the victims of Typhoon Ulysses, and raised Php 2,434 to dog shelters aiming to help neglected dogs at the height of the pandemic.
Jumawan describes her advocacies as multidimensional after her new experiences saying that “It [Advocacy as a nursing student] does not pertain only to health, but also in environmental aspects and social injustice.”
When asked what her message is to the women of Nursing today, she voices out how both being a woman and a student-nurse rekindled her passion of empowering other female nursing students to learn, take courage and make a difference. She says, “Let us choose to be a warrior and always remember that we are not just a woman.”
Heavenly D. Legaspino also participated in the said events and has taken part to the initiative under Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library, Inc (KRIS) of conducting a 3-day webinar, “Kalinaw: Pagtaguyod ng Kapayapaan sa Gitna ng Pandemya” with the aim to educate and inspire the youth to become pillars of peace. Under the same organization, she also spearheaded a webinar last September 27-19, 2020 where health, environment, and peace building relations were the highlights.
“Health will play a role as a catalyst in the peace process because there is a strong commitment to peace and healing behind it,” says Legaspino on how health helps in the promotion of peace.
On being a part of PNAA Women’s Day spread, Legaspino expresses that the event paved the way for a new era of women in Nursing. “As women and Nursing students of today, I presume that we are the forefront of change even in the environmental aspect. We must understand that we need to create an environment that facilitates nature to act upon our patients.”
“To all the women of Nursing and even those with a heart like hers, let us not limit ourselves in learning because that is all we need to become the future of Nursing,” Legaspino added.
Taking initiative in times of crisis is one of the strengths of this college. Embodied with empathy and skills to make an impact to the people and to have a healthier and safer community.
“I believe that in these small projects, transformative leaders are born, modern day heroes are made, and great things can be accomplished”, expressed by their chaperone to PNAA, Ms. Mae Lanie Poblete.
“It’s worth celebrating that nursing has become a more inclusive profession without diminishing its core values. We gave tribute to those who came before us, who fought hard to have what we have today.” she added.
The three CON students were part of the 15 recipients of the PNAA grants given to commendable students who excelled academically and demonstrated a genuine desire to make positive changes in their communities.
In 2019, the Department of English of the College of Arts and Social Sciences conducted the 2nd Women’s Month on-the-spot essay writing contest.
This year’s Women’s Month, the Institute is featuring the winning entries of last year’s essay writing competition.
Below is the 2nd runner up essay entry written by Andrienne A. Espiritu of MSU-IIT Integrated Developmental School.
Woman. Who is she to people? Is she the Mother who lights a house with Grace and sacrifice? Is she the fiery member of the workplace who works day and night with the vision of hum but never the roar. Is she the shadow of a weary man’s success? Woman, always the essential darkness of somebody else’s night.
Throughout history, women have been marginalized and oppressed in this patriarchal society. They are often subjected to lesser roles and menial jobs; or worse, not expected to work at all. Society has always put women as an extension or being next to men. Because of this, they have learned to slowly blend in the background, to work behind the scenes, to stay silent in a world dominated by men. But when a staggering fifty percent of the world’s population is oppressed and forced to stay on the wayside, it does not take long for them to realize their worth, to start seeing a world where they may be significant. The role of women has drastically changed over the course of history, thanks to people who fought for women’s rights. However, we have not completely eradicated the division between men and women. In some parts of the globe, there are still people who stereotype women, immediately assuming they are of lesser roles, classifying them as housewives, or denying them opportunities. There are several cultures that believe a woman exists only so that she can be sold, married, and be of service to men. There are many practices that we are blind too because some of us are privileged enough to live in a society where women are rising to the same roles as men. Ironically, there are still women who have not realized their worth and freedom, women who continue to be oppressed, abused, and treated as objects. And it is up to the empowered women to raise the marginalized women along with them.
We have taught women to build themselves smaller than men. Taught them that if they can offer thunder and the man can only produce a mere clap, then they should stay silent instead. Women have shrunk themselves to a size men can conveniently handle. They try to fit in the small boxes this society has built for them when clearly, they are made for something much bigger. They stay at home brewing ideas with the knowledge that if they come out of the world, it would be a magnificent sight. Despite the struggles that women have been through and continue to go through, nothing stops them from achieving their absolute best. When we look back in history, we can see that many women have excelled in fields traditionally assigned to men or believed only men can achieve. For example, Ada Lovelace, known to be the first computer program. Who would have thought that a woman could also excel in an area dominated by men? Marie Curie, the first person to win a Nobel prize twice in two different fields of science. She paved the way for many discoveries we now have. There was Frida Kahlo, whose bold paintings opened up conversations on taboo topics about women. These women had the courage to jump through loops, to go through needle-sized holes with the knowledge that the pathway towards success for women is laid out with more swerves and bumps. These women and many other women who fought courageously have shed light on women’s contributions in today’s society.
The women that we see today are empowered women. They continue to contribute to various aspects and excel at what they do. They radiate motivation and exude excellence; they are pioneers of change. They are equipped with the knowledge that they have the ability to change the world. They are no longer afraid to step out into the light. From the many years of living in the shadows, they have come to realize that the light they’ve been taught to stay away from is a brightness they yearn. To bathe in this light is not a fault, to find happiness in recognition is not something to be ashamed of. In this modern world, women are foundations for success. They venture into the world not as inferior beings but as equal partners alongside men. They explore new ideas and touch topics they’ve been afraid to open up before. They inspire other people. Children too looked up to women. The daughters of today’s society are filled with hope knowing that they are able to grow in a healthy world where they are not criticized for being a woman. The women of today are leaders, achievers, innovators; they are power with grace, a strict motivator with an inborn sense of love and compassion.
They say a woman finally becomes herself when she speaks without permission. And every word, every action, every deed that a woman does today without fear of being judged is a justice for all women who have fiercely fought the battle for equality. Woman. Who is she to the people? She is the raging anthem for every hopeful soul and the burning fire that swallows all fear and darkness. She is the figure that does not only stand up for herself but for thousands of other women who stand alongside her. She is no longer confined into darkness; rather, she dances underneath the warm light. She is fearless with her mouth and tongue and the unfailing courage to speak up. She is unbothered by society’s double standards and she will fight for her rights and the rights of other women who do not have voices to speak their truth. She is a woman. Fearless and brave- everything a woman is born to be.
Andrienne is an 18-year-old senior high school student from MSU-IIT IDS and is currently enrolled in the STEM strand. Her dream of becoming a board-certified ObGyn stems from the fact that she wants to dedicate her professional life working with women and empowering them. She strongly believes in being environmentally conscious and tries her best to practice an eco-friendly way of living. When she is not caught up in academic work, she likes to bake, write, watch slam poetry videos, and binge-watch tv shows. She is slowly learning to appreciate parts of herself society forces her to discard; she hopes to help others do the same.
As a part of the celebration of the International Women’s Month, FAB LAB Mindanao in partnership with The Bridge Student Center, The Department of Trade and Industry, and the Global Innovation through Science and Technology conducted a training for mothers on digital embroidery and laser cutter that is geared towards entrepreneurship last March 28, 2019. The goal of the training is to give the maker mom’s the avenue to be exposed to digital fabrication tools and park their creativity in terms of design, innovation, and invention. During the training, the maker moms from Suarez National High School were able to learn the basics of digital fabrication through digital embroidery. From exporting an image to designing, and up to machine operation, they created their own embroidered design. The maker moms were also able to learn the basic laser cutting machine operation such as 2D designing, wood etching, and cutting. At the end the training, the maker moms has achieved the goal to level up their skills by digitizing embroidery as a part of the celebration of the International Women’s Month to #makeAlmostAnything!
“She cried for the first time and the world judged her for who she was and took away her voice. She grew up in a world of bigotry, full of discrimination and prejudice but somehow along the way, she found courage and retrieved what she lost. Though it wasn’t a smooth-sailing journey for someone who was deprived with many opportunities and chances, the struggles made her a stronger and wiser person, ready to challenge the norms and the average.”
By definition, a puppet is a model of a person or animal manipulated by strings from above or hands from inside it. Its mobility – the things that it can and can’t do is controlled by an outside force, a circumstance and someone who has the power to move it. We may see this as an act of entertainment, only meant for satisfaction, but the thing is, this can be related to how society was and unfortunately to what it still is. Women have experienced worse than these puppets and have always followed the path intended for them. They have carefully acted out their roles in the drama written by this patriarchal society which always branded them as submissive to men thus making their existence less significant to the world. And she may have followed the standards for quite some time but a woman is bound to bring change. A woman is not synonymous to a housewife, domestic or silence. A woman has her responsibilities and is revolutionary.
In so many ways, women have proven that they possess insane courage and bravery to fight off the world’s injustices and cruelties. In the realm of women before, it was scarier and riskier to go against the laws. They were not given the right to suffrage and to be part of any political activity. A woman’s social role was only limited to taking care of the children and the husband, doing the laundry and all sorts of household chores. Society believed that a woman should only devote her time to these kind of pursuits rather than being involved in the complexities of politics as she is branded as frail and incompetent compared to a man. But women like Susan B. Anthony believed otherwise. She was one of the many women in the history who fearlessly fought for the right to vote. She relentlessly pushed that a woman and a man should live as equals. Many were killed and jailed during this fight. It was all blood and sacrifice to be able to get us to where we are today. Politics has now spared a room for women, allowing their sphere of influence to grow and their voices to be heard. Today, a lot of women are pursuing jobs that were considered as male-dominated. Many women have excelled in the field of medicine and science, military and in the news reporting. Through this, we can witness the impact women has brought to the society specifically in the economic growth as the parameters of their task go beyond the corners of a house. People around the world should begin and continue to realize that gender inequality is not just a problem faced by women but rather by everyone. Therefore, there has to be a collaboration among the different institutions and groups to fully eradicate the discrimination on women in workplaces, in giving out the social roles and privileges and in all aspects women face.
But in spite of the drastic changes brought by the civilizations of the world, there are still tremendous obstacles women face – from the objectification of their bodies through catcalling, domestic violence, sexual abuse to other forms of physical psychological abuse. Just because it’s not happening to you does not mean it’s not real. In the 21st century, there are numerous platforms one can use in order to empower and strengthen those who are mistreated, marginalized and left behind. Along with the technological advancement is the spreading of information on what needs to be done and promoting the rights of women. Whether you are a woman or not, you have the responsibility to advocate for equality and for a woman’s safety. There are a lot of movements that hold up the rights of a woman and are popularized in the social media sites allowing more people to be more informed and involved.
Everyone should envision a world where there is no gender inequality. It is our shared responsibility to continue breaking the notion that there are certain qualifications before a person is granted with his/her rights and privileges. A woman is equal to a man just as a man is equal to a woman. A woman is not a puppet because she has her own hands and a woman owns her world. She is not a disadvantaged but rather a phenomenal human being – always ready to challenge and change the world for the better.
This is the 1st runner up essay entry written by Kassandra A. Buenafe of St. Michael’s College during the 2018 Women’s Month on-spot essay writing contest hosted by the English Department.
Kassandra Buenafe is a graduate from the Humanities and Social Sciences strand of St. Michael’s College-Basic Education Department. She graduated With High Honors and was able to receive the Journalism Award. She has always joined the Schools Press Conference with feature writing in English as her field. She is currently taking up Bachelor of Arts in English Language Studies at Mindanao State University- Iligan Institute of Technology.
by Venice Angelic S. Cellan, Kiwalan National High School
“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay” is a remarkable quote by Simone de Beauvoir to awaken something that is very essential and that has been through nightmares so it will rise from its misery. A flower needs to be treated with sufficient care for it to bloom beautifully and stand toughly that even the strong wind cannot blow it away from its stem and the scorching heat of the sun will not dry it up. This refers to the people who have shaped history and the future and the women who have suffered injustice and inequality. Just like a flower that has been neglected until its petals slowly falls to the ground, women were discriminated based on their femininity. The problem of women’s place in the society has never been considered to be important because women are weaker than men and that women often have a harder time in achieving their goals in life. So, as time marches on, women clawed and fought their way to gain the much needed respect from the opposite sex. With this circumstance, they are no longer afraid to let their voice, which shouts for justice and equality, be heard and act to prove their worth and the importance of their existence not just in the society but also in the world. Like a rebirth of their existence and like a rebirth of a flower that blooms to aspire for freedom, the long struggle of women has developed women’s right movements and has created laws to protect the women against intersecting forms of discrimination.
The Women’s Suffrage Movement in 1937 in the Philippine Constitution was one of the first major occasions in which women grouped together politically. It was also one of the first women’s movements that protect the right for women to vote and run for office. The Women’s Suffrage Movement on gender equality came about with the women’s movements, increased numbers of women political representatives, increased numbers of educated women, greater specificity on women’s issues instituted under legislation, and the focused application of those laws. The Republic Act No. 9710, known as the Magna Carta of Women (MCW), which is mandated by the Philippine Government, is a comprehensive Women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate the discrimination against Filipino women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling, and especially promoting the rights of Filipino women. It conveys a framework of women’s rights based directly on the International Law. The MCW promotes women’s rights and protects women especially those belonging to the marginalized sectors in the society. According to the MCW, the marginalized sectors are defined as those who belong to the basic, disadvantaged, and vulnerable groups who are mostly living in poverty and have little or no access to land or other resources, basic, social and economic services such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation, employment and livelihood opportunities, housing security, physical infrastructure and the justice system. Based on the MCW, the Philippine Government, as the primary duty-bearer, is tasked to refrain from discriminating against women and violating their rights, to protect the women against discrimination from private corporations, entities and individuals, to promote and fulfill the rights of women in all spheres especially their rights to substantive equality and non-discrimination. It shall also establish mechanisms to promote the coherent and integrated implementation of the MCW at all levels. In its entirety, the Philippine Government shall fulfill these responsibilities through the development and implementation of laws, policies, regulatory instruments, administrative guidelines and other appropriate measures.
This year’s theme, “Woman/hood: Changing Tapestries for Change” and its sub-theme, “Changing Society Through Economic Partnership and Shared Responsibility: Towards Gender Equality” embodies the change for women to empower themselves to confidently engage with the appropriate institutions to ensure that they contribute to and avail of the development and changes of their function in the society. The process of making change work for women is needed in toughening the MCW at all aspects. It means applying and doing the action of making programs and services that aim to target strategic gender needs of women. The theme emphasizes that women should be active in fulfilling their roles in the society. On the other hand, men should respect and be cooperative to their female counterparts in their shared responsibilities in the society. Thus, women’s empowerment will make a change by letting women to meaningfully engage with other development stakeholders and do their part in the economic participation. Making this happen may involve making changes in the laws and reshaping the views and actions of individuals.
The good outcomes in giving importance in women’s empowerment in changing their role in the society come in many ways. First, entire nations, communities, businesses, and individuals will benefit with the implementation of programs and services that adopt the conceptions of women’s empowerment. Empowerment of women is a necessity for the very development of the society since it enhances both the quality and quantity of human resource development. Investing in women has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency, and economic growth. Targeting gender equality and women’s rights is also smart economics. Women are the key agents of change and when women and men are equal, economies will grow faster; less people will remain in poverty and the overall well-being of people increases. Harnessing women’s potential as economic actors, leaders and consumers results in a higher level of industrialization in all levels. Secondly, women bring a different perspective. They are more sensitive to environmental degradation and have concerns and ideas for change. With women empowered to play a full part in the decision making at all levels, environmental sustainability will be achieved and economic growth rates will be sustained. Lastly, women’s empowerment lies in its ability to bring in gender equality in the society and mend the gap between men and women. Women’s empowerment brings an equilibrium in the society that is highly dominated by men. It allows women to redistribute gender roles and to organize in order to promote leadership and partnership. Women’s empowerment does not only mean to earn a living and improve the society but is also an opportunity to challenge many gender stereotypes and discrimination, to aim for an equitable society, and to improve the voice and the participation of political and basic social spheres. Moreover, women empowerment helps the women to get rid of the social violence and atrocities against them. It helps them to be aware of their surroundings and the society in which they live will make them the participating members of the society and will help them fight for their rights.
In conclusion, it is possible to say that for one and a half century of its existence, the women’s movement on gender equality has become a phenomenon in the social sphere. Women’s empowerment is a belief that women should be treated the same as men not because women are better than men but because women are also human beings and they have the same rights as men in any society, in any time period. It gives the equal status of women and men which creates a frictionless environment for women. Women are highly responsible for the continuation of life in this planet. They have played a great role and we cannot imagine success without them. As observed, there is always a woman behind a man’s success and without thinking, man cannot be productive and be inspired to raise a family that is productive, and become the responsible citizen in building the nation. Men and women should realize their respective goals and strive to complement each other to improve life.
*This essay is the 2nd runner up entry for the On-Spot-Essay Writing Contest 2018 hosted by the English Department of CASS in celebration of the Women’s Month*
Venice Angelic S. Cellan is a graduate from the Technical Vocational Livelihood Strand from Kiwalan National High School. She was able to garner the award as The Journalist Of the Year and she is a Gawad Kalumbayan awardee. From her high school years, she had always joined literary contests and she always had a dream to be an aspiring writer someday. She is now taking up the course- Bachelor of Arts in English Language Studies at the Mindanao State University- Iligan Institute of Technology.