Last March, The Filipina Feminists featured Filipinas who are champions on the fight towards gender equality. These women are brave to face controversial issues like religion, divorce, and abortion - all of which are part of our fundamental rights as human beings.
Hon Sophia Balod
Award-Winning Journalist and Co-Founder of SubSelfie.com
Hon Sophia Balod is a great journalist. Her pieces uncover real-life problems we face as Filipinos. Some of her articles that struck us were of the Lumads’ plight, Duterte’s drug war, and the ones she wrote as an immigrant in Denmark when she studied in Aarhus University under the Mundus Journalism Programme. She also co-founded SubSelfie.com, an online magazine, with fellow Filipino journalists and communication professionals.
In July 2014, she wrote a touching piece on abortion in the Philippines where she led with a real-life story and proceeded to discuss the realities and societal impact abortion has especially in the Philippines where it’s criminalized.
“In this society, abortion can never be justified or reasoned. Neither should it be condoned. But I also believe that women who committed abortion are victims themselves. Hate and discrimination will not help them cope with the pain they’ve been through. We can only hope to understand them and know that this was not an easy decision for these women.”
Read more of her amazing eye-opener articles here.
Swiss-Filipina Writer, Translator, and Novelist
Angelica is an accomplished multi-lingual Swiss-Filipina writer. We picked her as our feature for this week because she is a divorcee who raised her two daughters on her own.
Per her article in Rappler, what started out as a marriage grounded in her Catholic faith as she met her ex-husband in a WYD Eucharistic celebration turned into any spouse's nightmare. According to Angelica, she was "treated like a slave and a doormat for [her husband's] insecurities, rancor, repetitive psychological abuse, and destructive criticisms".
She and her husband tried counseling but ultimately, they had to file for a divorce. Thankfully, Angelica was able to gain custody of her daughters. She ends the article with a hopeful note: "The prizes of my divorce are freedom, serenity, and new portals to a better life free of domestic violence."
Teresita "Ging" Quintos Deles
Feminist and Peace Advocate
Ging Deles is an expert in peace process and conflict resolution, women’s issues, civil society issues and processes, and security sector reform. She has spent most of her career fighting for women's rights. She is also the lead convener of #EveryWoman, a rights group that "advocates for the protection of democratic space, especially on women’s meaningful political participation" which is necessary given the rampant misogyny of the current administration.
Speaking of which, Ging Deles is an outspoken critic of the Duterte administration. After the 2018 State of the Nation Address, she said, "He has doubled down of failed policies that have caused more than 20,000 deaths, runaway inflation, runaway corruption, increased shabu smuggling, and the takeover of the country’s resources by the Chinese."
Ging Deles is making a real impact in society by persevering to fight for the safety, equality, and rights of Filipinas.
Sister Mary John Manzanan
Feminist Nun and Political Activist
Being a feminist nun may sound like an oxymoron. But Sister Mary John Manzanan is a true advocate of women. One of her achievements is leading the Philippines to implement a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which makes us first in the Asia-Pacific region. She was also a former expert-member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
In addition, she has had a long political career of advocating for peace, including being the co-founder of INCITEGov, lead convenor and secretary-general of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, co-founder and executive director of the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, and the presidential adviser on the peace process (a position she's had since 2010). Currently, she is the representative of the Philippines to the advisory board of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.
Truly, Sister Mary John Manzanan is a significant figure in the feminist movement in the Philippines. So we want to thank her for paving the way for us and other Filipina feminists today.
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