Let's end off Women's History Month with a celebration of Filipinas.
Gabriela Silang: Gabriela was the first female leader in the revolutionary movement against Spain and their efforts to colonise the Philippines. She is described as a fearsome leader who led her men to many victories.
Corazon Aquino: Corazon Aquino was the first female President of the Philippines. She was a symbol of hope and peace for the Philippines, as she ran as the opposition to Marcos’ authoritarian regime. She won the election, but Marcos refused to lose and claimed electoral fraud. This led to the People Power Revolution where Filipinos reclaimed their country from Marcos, restored democracy to the country, and elected Corazon as their next President.
Whang-od Oggay: Whang-od is the oldest and possibly the last mambabatok, a traditional Kalinga tattoo artist, in the country. People from all over the globe travel to be tattooed by her.
Mitzi Jonelle Tan: Mitzi is a climate justice activist. She co-founded Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP). She is a beacon of hope for youth and for the Philippines. She uses her voice to speak on the climate crisis and uplifts the voices and work of the Indigenous tribes in the Philippines in combating the climate crisis and keeping their homes safe.
Lea Salonga: Lea is an award-winning actress and singer, world-renowned for her beautiful and powerful voice. She is best known for her performance in Miss Saigon which won her a Tony award, the first Asian woman to do so. You may also recognise her as the singing voice for Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, and as the singing voice for Mulan. She has starred in many television shows, movies, and theatre productions. Lea Salonga is a national treasure.
Hidilyn Diaz: Hidilyn is the first Filipino to win an Olympic gold medal for the Philippines, which she won in the 2020 Summer Olympics for weightlifting.
Nesthy Petecio: Nesthy is also an Olympic Champion. She won an Olympic silver medal for boxing and is the first Filipino woman to win the medal for the Philippines.
Maria Ressa: Maria is a journalist, a Nobel Peace laureate, co-founder, and CEO of Rappler (a Filipino news website). Maria won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for her efforts to safeguard freedom of speech. In 2019, Maria was arrested for ‘cyber libel’ under the controversial Anti-Cybercrime Law. A fierce critic of Rodrigo Duterte, many saw her arrest as a politically motivated act made by Duterte. She was later acquitted in January 2023.
Concepcion Felix de Calderon: Concepcion was a feminist and human rights activist. She established Asociación Feminista Filipina, the first women’s organisation in the Philippines. She also established La Gota de Leche, an NGO aimed at the well-being of mothers and their children. In 1949, she was recognised for her human rights work by UNESCO.
Doreen Fernandez: Doreen was a writer, teacher, cultural historian, food scholar, and critic. She wrote extensively about Philippine theatre and cuisine. A prolific writer, she has authored many essays, books, and columns. In 1997, she received the Achievement Award from the National Research Council, and in 1999, Maria was recognised with the CCP Centennial Honours for the Arts, for her work on shaping the arts in the Philippines.