What Defines a Woman?

Article by Sophia Teaño / Photos by Lisa Marie David and Jeanne Dizon

Complete this line: kababae mong tao tapos ________ ka.

A very familiar phrase, isn’t it? It’s as if being a woman means being born into a predetermined mold. How many times has it been said of what a woman should and shouldn’t be like? And how many instances did it almost seem like it was true?

In as much as women are very capable, it’s as if it takes twice the effort to prove oneself—one that she is a person of capacity and substance, and the other, that she’s worthy of being heard and believed “despite being a woman.”

But being a woman is not as simple as choosing desired traits from a menu. At Belle de Jour’s Women’s Summit, the speakers illustrated and explored what it means to be a woman. This year, the event was entitled “Women Redefined” and six speakers shared their stories in redefining who the Filipina woman is in moments of resilience, courage, and resourcefulness.

(READ: Young Komiks Creators Illustrate What Women are Going Through Today)

Here’s how the speakers defined being a woman:

She is persistent.

At 23, Rachel Devilla is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Cropital, a crowdfunding platform for farmers. When things are hard, she pushes herself even more because these moments prove and show her what she’s capable of. She has reflected a lot on her passions, made sure to work hard on them, and pushed through with a quality support system rooting for her. During instances of struggles, she found herself holding onto her core values, noting that treating the experience as a reference to look back on paved the way to becoming a better version of herself.

She is a fighter.

Jover Laurio is all about persisting to fight through things that try to hold you back from speaking up. She thinks justice and truth can’t be compromised. In pursuing them, she reminds herself of what it means to be courageous: that it isn’t the absence of fear, but choosing to fight despite the presence of fear. Through speaking up, she says that you can create a voice for the people who can’t speak for themselves. In this way, she wishes to pave way for a safer and more meaningful country for the next generations.

Read on for more!


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