She Talks Asia isn’t just an annual conference
If you ever hear someone say that women should be satisfied with their status in society for the mere fact that we used to have to it worse, slap them with a big dose of reality. Tell them that the fight is not over just because we’ve taken steps forward. Give them the opportunity to be educated of the imbalances that are dictated by biology. Figuratively crack their minds open to the truth—don’t stop until they understand.
Not a lot of people can act on this; we can all be big with the words when need be. But when you put women in a room together and they’re able to freely speak, magic can happen. And this, in its simplicity, is exactly how She Talks Asia became something.
She Talks Asia is made up of Sarah Meier, Lynn Pinugu, Victoria Herrera, Iza Calzado-Wintle and Bianca Gonzalez-Intal. Together, these five women turned intimate conversations between friends into something that female and female-identifying individuals can look forward to. That is, a conference that discusses hot topics and is a safe space to ask questions and voice out concerns.
It was only in 2017 when things really kicked off, with the She Talks Asia banner proudly shouting that Every Girl Can. In 2018, they followed up with a Body Love conference that was all about self-love, body-positivity and acceptance. Earlier this month, their third go-around focused on the mantra that #WeAreEnough—and honestly, what could be more fitting?
I’ve heard women apologize for the simple act of taking up space—I myself have apologized for taking up space. I am thankful for what’s given to me and I sometimes find it uncomfortable to ask for any more. Whether in terms of a career or a relationship or an innocent walk down the street, #WeAreEnough is something we need to drill into our heads.
But She Talks Asia understands that one conference throughout the year is definitely not enough. An afternoon of motivational conversations won’t erase the other days that are less than empowering. That’s why they have the Story Bank, a digital space where individuals can read up on experiences and share their own challenges.
Moreover, She Talks Asia has modules and mentorship programs that span the year. With these, teenage women from risk-communities around Manila are provided with mentorship and after-school enrichment support. The goal? Hone their leadership qualities, help them set their goals, foster their creative thinking and establish proper problem-solving skills.
The fight to equality is far from over and—until then—women empowerment is something to keep at the forefront. Fortunately, it looks as if this is and will remain to be a reality.
Photos Elisa Aquino
Art Alexandra Lara