Ahead, Filipinas empowering other Filipinas
This International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting Filipina leaders who have created safe spaces in tech and retail. They are empowering other women to step up and be their boldest selves. From GCash’s Pebbles Sy-Manalang to Mink.ph’s Rizza Lana, here are women to watch out for.
Pebbles Sy-Manalang, GCash Chief Technology and Operations Officer
There’s no doubt that GCash is an unsung hero of the pandemic, helping us navigate the virtual financial realm seamlessly. The leading e-wallet in the Philippines has made cashless transactions safe and hassle-free. We’re able to shop for essentials, pay bills or send or receive money easily and safely.
Pebbles Sy-Manalang, GCash’s Chief Technology and Operations Officer, is boosting the tech industry. With her team, she’s helping the country move forward in the Digital Age. In an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Final Word with Rico Hizon, Sy-Manalang shares how she started her career in tech in the 90s, amid it being a traditionally male-dominated industry. She notes, “Despite significant improvements in the last few years, women are still underrepresented in science and technology, both in the academic and private sector—that needs to change.”
Moreover, “By equipping more women with the tools and skills to innovate, we also diversify the range of solutions and breakthroughs, because women look at problems differently than men typically do. That means we’re increasing the number of people working on problems, and who are working to disrupt industries.”
As a Filipina tech executive, Sy-Manalang empowers other women in the technology space to aspire for leadership roles, even if girls are normalized into thinking they can’t at a very early age. Why do women make great leaders? The Chief Technology and Operations Officer emphasizes, “Women make great leaders because we’re resilient and we’re great multi-taskers, because we’re so used to wearing multiple hats. Women are empathetic, we have higher intelligence…because of that, it really allows us to express ourselves more effectively…it also allows us to cope with pressure and handle crisis well.”
Aaia Garcia, NALA Woman Founder and CEO
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Helping raise awareness on the importance of women’s menstrual health is NALA Woman Founder and CEO Aiai Garcia. The Filipina is the woman behind the sustainable period-care brand tackling period poverty in the Philippines. The brand’s Pledge A Pad initiative provides access to period products and clean water for Filipinas in rural areas.
On the initiative that’s changing lives, Garcia shares, “The main objective of this initiative is to raise awareness on the importance of women’s menstrual health, tackle taboos and normalize some practices that promote better menstrual health for women, like openly talking about something that comes so naturally to being a woman. There’s still a lack of good education and awareness in women’s menstrual health in the Philippines. This leads to the compromise of women’s health and inaccessibility to products and services all over the Philippines especially in rural areas.”
She adds, “As a company that advocates for women empowerment and better education on women’s health, we have to make sure that as many Filipinas [are] given access to clean water and products to help them manage being women with dignity.”
What’s next for NALA Woman? Garcia reveals, “It is our hope to design and prototype a menstrual pad made with Philippine tropical fibers. Guided by the principles of sustainability, we hope to localize the supply for biodegradable sanitary pads, support local agriculture, create new jobs and new opportunities around a product that is essential for half the Philippine population.”
Rizza Lana, Lana and Mink Founder
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Female entrepreneurs have definitely taken front and center in the pandemic, with many creating innovative solutions for a present need. For Rizza Lana, she expanded her homegrown lifestyle brands to household names, all while maximizing the virtual space.
Shop guilt-free with Lana, a zero-waste lifestyle, sustainable skincare brand that embraces owning the skin you’re in. Their roster of products is proudly made in the Philippines and mindfully manufactured and packaged. Want to do good while you shop? In partnership with One Tree Planted, a tree will be donated under your name for purchases worth P1,399 and above in Negros Island, Bukidon and other parts of Mindanao.
The Filipina entrepreneur is also founder of Mink, every bold Filipina’s intimate skincare ally made with passion, spunk and mischief. The all-women team’s selection of vibrant intimate care products—from a moisturizing Happy Nippy Nipple Serum to a brightening Rad Pits Underarm Serum—empower women to shamelessly flaunt their unique beauty to the world.
We’re celebrating women power all month long! Here are life lessons from our favorite (fictional) nasty women.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver