And the truth we learned about women empowerment
There’s no time like the present and no better time to be alive than today. This is especially true for us women. There’s still a lot of room for growth and improvement sure, but there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. The fact that we can vote, walk alongside men and no longer be subservient to them, have careers and be mothers at the same time are but a few examples of how far we’ve come. Today, it’s not only women that celebrate women; brands, like Pilipinas Shell are helping the cause, too.
This year, the petrol company pays tribute to womankind through its campaign Women Who Drive the Future. Through Shell’s Women Network, the brand has made it part of their mission to empower women and change biases we’re honestly sick and tired of hearing, like being perceived as terrible drivers on the basis of gender alone. People who still think that we are less able and skilled whether on the road, in the workplace or on a global stage have certainly not heard of legends like Desiré Wilson, Ruth Ginsburg, Shell’s General Manager for External Relations–Asia Pacific Xiaowei Liu, or the women in this list.
To drive the message further, Pilipinas Shell held an intimate lunch led by Regina Lejano, head of the brand’s Women Network, to talk about women’s issues and get insights from an all-female panel comprised of Xiaowei Liu, PDI business features editor Tina Dumlao, Opal Portfolio Investments president Ida Tiongson and TraXion CEO Ann Cuisia. But this, perhaps, is the most important thing we learned:
“This isn’t just about gender—it’s about the presumptions and assumptions we hold on to. Sadly, this is especially felt by women, since we already have a lot of traditional biases stacked against us.” —Xiaowei Liu on gender equality at work
Discussions from the panel began with each woman’s storied rise to success in male-dominated industries and how women are just as good or maybe even better than the men. Liu’s insights, however, were more present-oriented as she talked about equality and people’s “unconscious biases” at work based on not just gender but age, ethnicity and religion.
Because when has women empowerment been about proving we’re the better sex anyway? If that’s what it is, then we are no better than our oppressors. History will repeat itself, the same mistakes will be made and, worst of all, we will rescind the work of female champions past and present. The fight, in its truest form, is about changing perceptions and claiming our seat at the table because we deserve it; because women deserve that space, we deserve respect and equal opportunities just like every other human being on the planet.
Empowered women are not misandrists. They don’t find fault in the differences they have with others, men, other women or otherwise; they celebrate it. Now isn’t that what true empowerment is about?
Art Alexandra Lara