Influential Women in the Philippines

Get to Know Philippine’s Most Influential Women for International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day on March 8th holds special significance for Filipino women.

It provides a platform to celebrate the achievements of women in the Philippines and around the world, acknowledge ongoing challenges, and advocate for gender equality.

History of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) traces its roots to the early 20th century when women globally began advocating for better working conditions, suffrage, and equality.

The first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909, following a declaration by the influential women within the Socialist movement.

Inspired by this, the International Women’s Conference in 1910 proposed an annual day of solidarity.

The first official International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 19, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.

Over the years, the date shifted to March 8, and IWD has since evolved into a global celebration of women’s achievements and a call for gender equality.

Today, IWD is a great opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and further women empowerment around the world.

IWD for Women in the Philippines | Women Empowerment

Women in the Philippines face unique challenges compared to their peers in a first-world country.

Through the IWD, Filipino women as well as leaders can reflect on persistent challenges faced women in the Philippines, such as gender-based violence, economic disparities, and limited access to education and healthcare.

IWD aims to elevate Filipino women’s visibility; it invites men to be allies for each Filipino woman, fostering a society that recognizes and values the potential of every individual, regardless of gender.

In the Philippines, International Women’s Day is not merely a moment of reflection but a catalyst for change, driving the nation towards a future where every Filipina can thrive in their own communities and overcome life’s hiccups, free from the constraints of gender stereotypes and discrimination.

5 Influential Women in the Philippines to Celebrate this IWD:

We’ve rounded up 8 influential Filipino women who have made significant strides in their respective fields. Read on to learn more about these influential women in the Philippines and their life story.

1. Marife Zamora: Business Process Outsourcing Leader

Marife Zamora is one of the most powerful women in the Philippines, particularly within the finance business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. She is the sitting Chairperson of Convergys Philippines, the country’s top private employer.

Under her tutelage, Convergys grew to be the hallmark of BPO technology and customer service in the whole country. There have been countless opportunities created by the corporation led by Zamora.

With the rise of BPO companies, Filipino women, from a student to a very young mom to an older woman in need of employment, it’s now possible for all types of Filipino women to create their dream lives for themselves by having an independent income stream.

Speaking to Filipina Women’s Network, Marife Zamora says of Filipino women, “We must not be afraid to challenge roles and demand equal share and responsibility with our partners.”

Whether it’s her track record or her words, she is undoubtedly a passionate Filipina finance professional shattering glass ceilings.

2. Aimee Carandang: First Asian Female Commercial Pilot

Aimee Carandang broke stereotypes by becoming the first Asian female commercial pilot in 1993. At the time, having a female commercial pilot was unheard of since aviation was largely a male-dominated field.

However, life finally hit for Capt. Carandang when she proved that the sky is never the limit for powerful women. She was the first Filipina pilot to become a captain for Philippine Airlines, the flag carrier. She is also widely regarded as the first Asian female commercial pilot.

Her legacy is not only limited to her own personal passions. She has inspired a new generation of women in the Philippines to pursue careers in aviation.

Capt. Carandang’s story justifies the belief that Filipino women are capable and that gender equality should be pursued in all fields, particularly traditionally male-dominated ones.

3. Monique Ong, Kana Takahashi, Cat Triviño of MindNation: Mental Wellness Advocates

Collectively, influential women and powerful women Monique Ong, Kana Takahashi, and Cat Triviño are MindNation.

MindNation is an app that aims to bring consulting healthcare retail and services in the mental health media sphere, to the everyday Filipino.

As mental health advocates, these influential Filipino women co-founded a platform that blends media with a deep understanding of the human psyche. Individually, they are each a mental health advocate in their own right at a young age.

Through the digital platform, they connect Filipino women and men alike to medical and surgical needs related to their mental well-being.

One might quip, what are non-medical practitioners doing in the business of mental health? Similar to the concept of Eastern Virginia Medical School when it was first opened in 1973 in Norfolk Virginia, the school was conceived by community leaders as an effort to fill the growing gap between the increasing population with immediate needs and a shortage of local physicians.

EVMS first graduates were in fact, non-medical students or physicians. The students in the Art Therapy and Counseling Program of the school were the first to take their bow on stage in 1974 with the first physicians graduating only two years later.

Through their efforts, the Filipino women consistently facilitate learning sessions that promote a clear and positive mind, providing a lifeline for those navigating the complexities of mental health.

They highlight how mental health is vital to a healthy holistic life for all Filipino women and men.

4. Hidilyn Diaz: Olympic-Winning Athlete

Women empowerment efforts found a welcome ally with Hidilyn Diaz. She’s considered one of the most influential Filipino women for a very unique reason: weightlifting.

At such a young age, Diaz competed in many international weightlifting competitions including the Southeast Asian Games where she a bronze medal in 2007 and the Asian Youth/Junior Weightlifting Championship the following year where she bagged the silver and gold medals.

However, it was her monumental 2020 Summer Olympics run that made her a household name and an inspiration to many a young woman in the Philippines.

Despite winning only a bronze in the Southeast Asian Games, she managed to win the Olympics and the hearts of Filipino women.

Who in today’s digital world could forget the tears from both the coach and Diaz herself? Growing up in a humble family, a daughter of a tricycle driver-turned-fisherman, Diaz’s own raw stories are testaments to how women empowerment and support could lead to success.

5. Korina Mercado: Veteran Engineer, Human Resources Practitioner, and Coach

With nine years of experience in industrial engineering, Korina stands as an influential Filipino woman, excelling in projects like Agile Sigma and Lean Six Sigma.

Currently a Senior Continuous Improvement Lead at a major US IT company, she extends her impact through consultations via KonnectKonsult. Her expertise spans various industries, from manufacturing to pharmaceuticals, with top clientele in the USA, Germany, and the UAE.

Korina’s influence expands globally, as she’s invited to speak at universities and organizations. She’s now a time professional organizational coach on top of her whole human resources functions.

Through social media, she fosters a Filipina Women’s Network, accepting diverse beliefs and providing free learning sessions that create countless opportunities.

A passionate Filipina finance professional, she champions women’s empowerment and gender equality, notably as a mental health advocate and certified HR professional.

From her beginnings as a former corporate employee to her impactful role in the public and private sectors and her work in promoting diversity initiatives, Mercado helps encourage other Filipina women to run after their dreams.

Celebrating Filipino Women in Our Own Communities at Camella

Filipino women are a force to be reckoned with. These five influential Filipino women are not just icons within their respective domains; they are embodiments of resilience, passion, and women empowerment.

These influential women have committed themselves to life-long learning and gender equality through their own merits, whether that be in a consulting and search firm, human resources, sports, or corporate life.

For Filipino women, having at least one person to look up to could make a world of difference.

Through their stories, they inspire others to dream big, overcome obstacles, and make a mark in a world that is continually evolving.

As we celebrate these powerful women, we at Camella contribute to the ongoing wave of change, ensuring that the next life wave and landscape for Filipino women is one of inclusivity, diversity, and boundless opportunities for all.

We want to encourage women in the Philippines to go after their dreams, practice self-compassion, and take inspiration from the life lessons from these influential Filipino women.

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