Go, Woman.

Minutes before leaving the office, I was privileged to get 1st dibs on reading the draft of one of the most brilliant Filipinos I met, just as he was about to do a final pass on his article for submission to his editor, ready to be put to press. His article was about a Filipina in the agri social enterprise space, about her struggles and her unwavering commitment to her principles, that allowed her to revolutionize her community for the better.

Earlier in the week, my boss and some of the startup founders were talking about this young lady who graduated top of her class in UP when she was 16 years old, attaining an undergraduate degree in applied physics. She has since paid forward by teaching physics as well.

Earlier in the day, the team was talking about a young startup technopreneur based in the US who we’re stoked to host as the next Startup Grind Manila guest. A woman, she is, and yes, she founded her 1st startup at 13 years old. She has since outsourced jobs for her current business here in the Philippines.

I remember watching a documentary called Girl Rising some time ago, where it showed how some communities across the globe still exercise biases against women. There are still territories who subject young women to child slavery and human trafficking. Some of them are brought to the life of prostitution. Some of them are forced into marriages in their young age. Some of them are not allowed to speak. Some of them cannot choose to spend their lives with the ones they love at the risk of being stoned to death.

It is a shared challenge for the world to uplift the state of the woman in her current time and space. I am grateful to be born and raised in an environment where I can exercise my democracy, where I have the right to suffrage, the right to speech, the right to love the person I want to.

I dwell in a time and space where I have a choice. I have the capacity to respond accordingly with the cards I have been dealt. You too, have that choice.

You are accountable to your choices.
You are accountable to fail, and feel the full spectrum of emotions that come with it. You have the choice to feel the hurt and express it if you must. You have the choice to go through PMS, and respect your nature as a being with a lot of estrogen in your homeostatic state.

You are accountable to love.
You start with loving yourself so you can give more of yourself unconditionally, without the intrinsic need to take something in return.

You and I, we start with the self, so we may then transcend to starting to reach out to others, to our community, to our nation, to our world.

You and I, we are more than our sacrifices.
We are more than the preconceived roles that we have been taught to adapt.
We can break through the barriers, challenge status quo, challenge the notion of submission and patriarchy.
We are more than our relationships.
We are more than being a sister, a daughter, a mother, a friend, a student, a teacher.

Dear Woman, I hope that the next time you take that selfie, you realize that, beyond the attempt of getting a snapshot that captures a great-hair-day moment, you take it because you appreciate the liberty of being a woman in the time and space you dwell in.

You are your own woman. Chin up. The world is your oyster. Ban bossy. Whip it.

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