Wherever Gen Zs are, women empowerment is!
It takes tremendous effort to produce a generation of empowered women. Women from centuries ago played important roles in wars to lead us to where we are today—a world where women have voices, rights and opportunities. But while it is true that we have come so far, it’s also true that we still have a long way to go.
The youth is the future. We spoke to three empowered Gen Z females from different industries (PS. they’re still in college), and we can safely say that the future is looking bright.
Fifi Bisnar, 21
YouTuber (Music) and Animator
The pandemic was undoubtedly a weird time for Gen Z. Those years were supposed to be spent exploring and experiencing college life—and not through a computer screen! Creative as they are, Gen Z spent those years learning more about themselves and sharing it for the world to see. Fifi Bisnar is a prime example of this.
Having had a lot of time on her hands during quarantine, Fifi revisited her old hobbies of playing the guitar and making art. Fascinated by her new skills, she shared her work with her friends and—eventually—the public, which “seemed like no big deal at the time, since everyone was rapidly engaging in random social media activities.”
Fifi represents the reserved introverts who impulsively gained the courage to put themselves out there. The leap of faith led her to a Silver YouTube Play Button. And along with the rise of YouTube subscribers came Instagram followers.
“I was super overwhelmed (and confused) with all the attention and support I was getting, mostly because most of the cool guitarists and animators that I got inspired from are men who are actually very experienced in their craft. So, I'm often left with feelings of impostor syndrome—like ‘What am I doing here? I'm just an awkward self-taught female artist,’” she reveals.
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It was after she started receiving messages from girls close to her age that she realized she could empower them through her art. Fifi reveals, “Some even tell me that they bought an electric guitar because of me! I also remember receiving messages from girls who share the same passion for art and music, telling me that it's encouraging to see someone like them who pursues similar hobbies and interests.”
Fifi acknowledges that, like everyone else, there is a lot of room for her to improve. Still, she feels motivated to continue doing what she does, especially knowing that she empowers “girls like me to either deepen their enthusiasm towards current passions or even discover new ones.”
A message from Fifi
“Putting yourself out there or trying something new can be scary, especially without an example to follow. But, I believe that it's never a bad idea to pursue your passions—you’ll never know, you may end up being the role model others were looking for.”
Lara Jomalesa, 22
Despite still being young, Lara Jomalesa has grown passionate about children’s rights and inclusive education. Her college degree, organizational work and personal projects are all driven by her advocacies. Intentionality is one thing we can immediately learn from her.
Motivated to make a “positive change in my community and beyond,” Lara shares that she has had opportunities to work with women who have inspired and empowered her. She notes, “They have shown me that anything is possible if we work together and believe in ourselves.”
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She joined the DLSU University Student Government, where she worked as the former Vice President for External Affairs. Now a graduating student, Lara is taking things on an international scale, working as the ASE Business Development Strategy Assistant with UNICEF South Asia. In this role, she notes, “[I have] been able to help promote adolescent skills and employability in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and India [through business development strategies and donor mapping mechanisms] where many young people, especially girls, face significant challenges.”
She further adds, “By supporting their education and training, we can help equip them with the skills they need to succeed and achieve their full potential.”
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Lara is certainly doing what she can to achieve her own full potential as well. Active as ever, she and her friends joined forces to bring their passion project to life at the height of the pandemic. The Amigo Coffee is an online shop selling coffee beans and beverages, and was made in collaboration with indigenous women farmers in Mount Apo. Lara shares, “Together, we have worked towards promoting sustainability while preserving cultural knowledge. By empowering these women and supporting their livelihoods, we can help ensure their communities thrive and that their unique perspectives and experiences are valued and respected.”
A message from Lara
“To all the girls out there, I want to say this: You can achieve great things and have the power to impact your community and the world positively. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and don't be afraid to take risks and try new things. Remember that other women are working towards a better future for all of us and that together, we can create a more just, equitable and sustainable world for everyone.”
Rae Juania, 22
The beauty of a woman is usually compared to that of a flower and, with Rae Juania’s arrangements, we can easily see why. Rae has always had a soft spot for flowers, but it was only in September 2020 that she pursued it as a business venture.
She shares: “I just did this for fun and exploration until a friend came to me and asked for help to arrange [flowers] for her friend’s wedding.” With her flower shop. Iris Fleur Creations, only being a month old then, Rae felt a mix of fear and excitement. Despite her hesitations, she went for it “and that’s when I realized that I am capable.” And she's since handled arrangements for more than a hundred weddings.
Before arriving at the business name, Rae made a decision that she wanted her brand to be associated with women. The flower Iris is definitely fitting as it represents faith, hope, courage and wisdom as this is how she perceives women. Rae shares that she aims to be “an example to young girls out there that age and gender are not a limitation to showcase your talent.” She adds, “You just need to trust in the power of pursuing your passions and endlessly try because, eventually, this will lead you to your career breakthrough.”
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Rae opened up about her struggles as a woman in the intimidating, male-dominated business industry. It can be easy for women to feel as if they don’t belong. However, she is “glad and hopeful that [women] will eventually break the glass ceiling in the world of business as our generation, Gen Zs, is brave enough to go out of our comfort zones and challenge gender norms.”
When asked about her inspiration, Rae shares that they are none other than “women who are unapologetically conquering the world.” She notes, “Being a woman means embracing your innate power that cannot ever be taken away from you.” True enough, her works through Iris Fleur Creations embody the lasting beauty, power and uniqueness of women. In the same way, a woman’s value is not defined by her appearance, but by her totality as an individual.
A message from Rae
“Always keep in mind that, at the end of the day, what other people or society think about you does not matter—not everyone is meant to understand what you want in your life, so just believe in yourself and follow the path that will lead you to where your heart wants, not just to nurture yourself, but also others. Remember that we are just like the flowers, we need both rain and sunshine to grow, embrace the ups and downs of life, for they all contribute to our growth and development.”
A lot of people view Gen Z as “kids” who think they know everything. But in reality, Gen Z takes to heart the responsibility of building a good future for everyone. We might never see ourselves what tomorrow will bring, but with young girls like Fifi, Lara and Rae, things are surely looking up.
Words Kyla Villena
Art Macky Arquilla