A woman? Yes, a woman.

Soberien Kate F. Fernandez | Sci-Tech Editor | The OLPSian Times

International Women’s Day 2024 posting from The OLPSian Times’ Facebook Page | The OLPSian Times

This month of March, we celebrate and recognize women all around the world for their contributions in shaping feminism–breaking boundaries and bending stereotypes.

This month-long celebration dates back to the early 1900s in the United States, where a group of women started advocating for a national day to honor women. Soon enough, in 1908, American suffragette Alice Paul, proposed an idea for an International Women’s Day, celebrated on the 8th of March every year. But it wasn’t until decades later, in 1975, when the United Nations recognized this continuous event, and officially declared the month of March as International Women’s Month.

In the Philippines, Women’s Month is still being celebrated today as a way to recognize the many lives and the overlooked contributions of Filipino women over the years. Although women in all parts of the world still continue to make big strides today, with their contributions in different fields, many still see women as pawns in the competitive game of chess—seen as followers rather than leaders.

“It is literally impossible to be a woman. […] You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas.”

Leading is not an easy task, it requires sensibility, communication, stability, and courage. But, what is it like to lead as a woman?

In an interview with The OLPSian Times female sector heads, they recount their hurdles and victories in leading their sectors, while carrying out their everyday duties as students.

Broadcast Head, Maryle Mopera of Grade 11 ABM-A, explains her brainstorming process in making content, especially in days where she struggles the most.  “As a person na laging na-memental block, mahirap siya and na-kakapressure siya kasi hindi lang ako kasi broadcast head eh—parang nagiging content creator na rin ako kumbaga.”

“[…] Pero minsan kasi ‘yung brightest ideas, dumadating siya during the times na hindi mo in-eexpect. Let’s say for example, may ginagawa ako just to pass time tapos may naisip ako na: Uy, what if ganito pala, what if ganyan. Or when I relax, dun minsan lumalabas ‘yung mga creative juices ko instead na nasa mindset ko na: Uy, kailangan ko gawin ‘yung ganito ganyan.

Along with being the Broadcast Head of The OLPSian Times, Mopera is also the Asst. House prefect of Veracity and their Class president.

“Lagi tumututok sa’kin ‘yung song ni Taylor Swift na ‘The Man’ kasi what if  I could do more if lalaki ako? Pero kasi lahat naman siguro, kahit mga lalaki, may mga struggles din sila as a leader,” she continued, “ [Kaya] iniisip ko na lang na I am a woman of my own. […] Iniisip ko na lang kahit hindi ako kasing galing ni Former Vice President. Leni, I could [still] do more sa mga ginagawa ko.” 

But other than that, she expresses her struggles in gaining confidence as a leader. “Minsan kasi, ‘yung ginagawa ko sa classroom as the president, as the broadcast head sa OT (OLPSian Times), parang kulang nabibigay ko and nawawalan ako ng confidence. […] Nakikita ko ‘yung iba, ang galing-galing nila so nakaka-pressure talaga siya sa’kin.” 

“Para sa mga aspiring leaders, if you’re given the chance para tumakbo or given the position, why not try it? Kasi you’ll never know ‘kung saan ka mararating ‘kung hindi mo sinubukan diba? […] Wag mong isipin na may mas better sa position mo, kasi ‘yun yung magiging hindrance sa journey mo as a leader. [Kaya] Minsan kapag nag-dadalawang isip ako ‘kung tatakbo ba ako for a certain position, sinasabi ko sa sarili ko: Kung hindi ‘yung iba, sino?

For Production Head, Jamie Pagdanganan of Grade 12 ABM-A, having a lot of members in one sector is not an easy task, Pagdanganan says that she tries to monitor each and every one of them and tries to distribute their work accordingly. 

 “[…] Aalamin ko muna kung sino-sino sila and I try to know din if may nagawa na ba ‘tong member na toh, like have he or she contributed something sa OT–creatives specifically. [Kaya] kapag napansin ko na may members na naka-pagcover na for example, tina-try ko ibigay ‘yung opportunity sa other members as much as possible.”

Pagdanganan says that when handling the pressure of dedicating herself to the organization, can be a challenge, “Nasa OT [na] ako since Grade 8, so before pandemic pa, kaya may pagka-introvert pa ako– tina-try ko [parin] maging active before. […] Hindi lang kasi safe zone ang creatives sa OT, nagkakaroon din kasi siya ng problems, na as a production head, I have to face it in seriousness.”

She also describes leading as a learning experience for her to fully grow as a person, 

“[…] Looking back, as a woman myself, I don’t let them just step on my name na. Let’s say, I step myself up more–like sa hagdanan–akyat pa ako ng isa. And naging big step siya sa’kin.” 

“A lesson I learned for myself is that it’s not all smiles. You don’t know what someone’s going through and what they’re experiencing. You don’t have to pretend your smile everyday, so showing your true self [whenever] you’re sad or serious, people will look at you more truly, ” she continued, “[…] Kasi, gusto ko lang makita ng mga tao na I’m someone approachable but also someone they shouldn’t really mess around with.” 

For the Publication sector, last but most certainly not least is Editor-in-Chief Andrea Alinea of Grade 11 STEM A. In her second year of being the editor-in-chief, she recalls the hardest circumstances she had to face in her first year which was seniority.

“Kasi nung naging editor-in-chief ako, Grade 10 ako, so merong mga members na under ko na Grade 11 o kaya Grade 12. Last year, ‘yung managing editor ko was Grade 12. Mahirap kasi, syempre bago ako, so I don’t know how to approach them in terms of formality.” Alinea continued, “Because even though I am the editor-in-chief, they are still one of my seniors in terms of school. So seniority is one of the hardest parts in my first year.” 

For her second year, it was handling events outside the school. “I think the hardest part was being full-to-face and especially yung mga events na pinapag-participatan natin, most recently sa UP Diliman, so that’s the first time we’ve been invited by another campus, especially a big campus like UP. […] Along with exposure, comes great responsibilities, great requirements, and sacrifices to make.”

Alinea also openly discussed having to step up as a leader in the organization.

“Nung nag-nonominate sila ng editor-in-chief, I was the managing editor na, so ‘yung mga seniors ko gusto nila mag-stay na lang within their own position. […] So there were no seniors stepping up and since matagal na ako sa OT, I’ve been around since 2019, I had to step up. Initially walang choice talaga, pero it’s out of passion na rin for being a journalist.”

For her, the significance of women’s month is to dedicate and prove that women can do so much more than what they are expected to do.

“It’s important kasi most of the time, when they think of women’s month: Oh, binibigyan natin sila ng special treatment dahil lang babae sila, bakit walang men’s month? It’s because in our normal day-to-day life, everyday is men’s day. Mahalaga na kahit nilalabanan natin na araw-araw ay araw ng mga lalaki, magkaroon man tayo ng isang buwan reserved sa mga kababaihan, who, in my opinion, can do a lot of things that men can also do, ten times better.

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