by Nina Isabelle Alolod | March 16, 2023
This 2023, National Women’s Month is placing an emphasis on gender equality and inclusive society from this year to 2028. The theme is titled “WE for gender equality and inclusive society,” wherein WE stands for Women and Everyone highlighting the role of women themselves and everyone in pursuit of gender equality. This makes for an important reminder to recognize past and present women’s successes in society due to the instances in history wherein women’s contributions have been overshadowed.
Take Monopoly for example: it is one of the most played board games of all time, and it is credited to the Parker Brothers. Not many know that it was actually Elizabeth Magie Phillips who came up with the original inspiration for the game. Furthermore, the first computer program in the world was written by Ada Lovelace in the 1840s long before the first computing machine was ever invented.
It is ironic that most of these fields have now been attributed to men. The gaming industry–be it digital or physical–has been geared towards men, and the tech industry is found to be male dominated as well with the likes of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Jack Ma and many others. With this, we now redirect the spotlight on several notable women from Dumaguete and their respective contributions to society.
Poet, fiction writer, and literary critic Edith Tiempo first comes to mind in regards to this subject. Not only did she found Silliman National Writers Workshop, but she has also won several awards for her works including but not limited to the National Artist Award for Literature and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.
Another literary figure would be Elsa Martinez Coscolluela, a Silliman University (SU) alumni, who won sixteen Palanca awards in the field of drama. Her best known play “In My Father’s House” was first produced onstage in 1988 and its popularity has reached overseas in San Francisco, New York City, and Kyoto.
Kitty Taniguchi, SU alumni and modern and contemporary artist, has also marked her name in the art industry with her solo exhibitions at Cultural Center of the Philippines, Ayala Museum, Pinto Gallery, and at the Mariyah Gallery. Drawn from her own experiences, Taniguchi’s work touches on themes of femininity which challenges social and cultural standards.
Just last year, an independent local zine, which are small circulated, self-published original works, titled “Lutong Baybay” featuring beloved seafood recipes from Dumaguete was created by women from six different fishing communities. This zine was a response to the controversial 174-hectare reclamation project and served to put a face to the communities whose livelihoods were threatened by the project.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report, it would take 132 years to reach gender equality worldwide with the current rate of progress, in which the global gender gap is closed by only 68.1%. This instance urges us to continue our efforts for gender equality and women’s empowerment long after National Women’s Month passes. The relevance of such topics will continue to persist unless proper and effective changes are made. Acknowledging women’s accomplishments can be a good place to start, as it encourages for a more inclusive space that would further strengthen society as a whole.