In keeping with WAGI’s annual Young Women’s Leaders Conference, the webinar is a cultural celebration of Women’s Month 2021 where young women leaders shared their own context of young women’s leadership on certain issues and concerns through a variety of artistic expressions such as monologues, visual arts, song, dance, and poetry. This webinar led by WAGI, in partnership with Miriam College HEU Office for Student Affairs (OSA), Consortium of Women’s Colleges (CWC), Miriam College Department of International Studies, and U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, was held last March 26, 2021 via Zoom and was moderated by Ms. Danica Gonzalez, the Young Women’s Leadership Program Coordinator of WAGI.
Ambassador Laura Quiambao-Del Rosario, President of Miriam College, gave the opening remarks by sharing a bit of background of how women were in her generation. She affirmed her support for today’s generation in continuously fighting for women’s rights in order to achieve a safe and free world. To introduce the webinar, along with the set of speakers, Dr. Melanie Reyes, Chair of the Department of International Studies, highlighted the significance of cultural arts as a comforting and innovative platform for the youth to engage in further empowering and supporting young women’s leadership through spaces of expression.
The first speaker Ms. Dennise Virtucio, a Student Leader at Assumption College, encouraged the youth to forge a safe, free, and just place where people can be who they want to be. She also encouraged people to engage in active academic discussion, take part in organizations that share the same advocacy, and register to vote in order to change history’s oppressive narratives. For Ms. Frances Therese Zabala, a Student Leader at Miriam College, she believed that the definition of young women leaders can be understood in various perspectives. According to Ms. Therese, the concept of young women leaders is not a branding and not so much of a qualifier, but a power and a responsibility. A Student Leader at St. Scholastica’s College, Ms. Alliah Prodigalidad explained that leadership is a selfless act of service. For her, leadership is not about how many wins an individual has, but how an individual was able to win with others. Finally, Ms. Anna Zaaquira E. Boloto, a Student Leader and Linding Ko Kalumbayan Member, strongly pointed out the need to address the problem of ‘internalized misogyny’ or feminists women only supporting empowered women. According to Ms. Anna, a true young woman leader is someone who empowers others and brings out the best in people, not just women.
The artistic articulation of young women in the second part of the webinar, showcased that being an empowered young woman leader does not have a single image or definition. An empowered and young woman leader can be seen in diverse sectors of society. As Ms. Anna stated, leadership is not just for the few strong chosen women, rather leadership is for everybody. However, as women and as leaders, the job is to communicate with others and be the voice of the voiceless. Being a young woman leader is being able to speak your minds as a way to break stigmas and empower and inspire people. In the words of Ms. Anna Zaaquira, “We women do not work for applause, because we work for a cause.” -
Written by: Maria Angelica J. Tamoria