We are often told that we can fly high and eye whatever path we want. There are certain obstacles, however, that can make the journey more challenging than others—such as one's gender.
At the recently concluded press conference by The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS), Nobel Peace Prize 2021 laureate Maria Ressa and Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz echoed the same sentiment about being a woman in their respective fields.
Diaz, the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist, talked about challenging the beauty stereotype in line with what female athletes “should” look like. A 2016 study states that “it is argued, athletes are unlike other female populations and are not as affected by the need to be beautiful or see themselves as a ‘girlie girl.’”
The weightlifting champion—whose bold lip choices serve as her “secret weapon” in competitions—pointed out that athletes go beyond their strength.
“Kaming mga atleta, hindi lang kami malakas kundi maganda rin. Hindi tayo nagpapacontrol sa kung ano ang sinasabi ng iba, na 'Kung atleta ka, dito ka, kung babae ka, huwag kang lumabas, huwag kang magsports.' Hindi. ‘Yun yung modern na kababaihan,” she said.
View this post on Instagram
For her part, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa cited a 2020 study as she discussed why women are in more danger in the industry than men. “Women are actually attacked a lot more than men and I’ll focus on that in terms of both journalism and politics,” she said.
Shared by the International Center for Journalists, the aforementioned survey found that 73% of the women respondents have gotten attacked online, 25% of them have received physical threats, while 20% of them said that “they had been attacked or abused offline in incidents seeded online.”
“In Rappler, our threats really went off the scale in 2016. Since 2016, Rappler has increased our security up to six times,” she shared.
“We’ve taken two steps forward, but four steps back because globally, all around the world, these types of sexist, misogynistic leaders who are using us against them have attacked women,” added Ressa. “And inevitably in our country, it’s always also women who push back.”
In line with such challenges, Ressa shared an important question that she keeps in mind throughout her career: “What are you willing to sacrifice for the truth? It’s that simple. I already know my answer.”
Ressa and Diaz have been conferred a title by TOWNS—2007 TOWNS Awardee for Journalism and 2016 TOWNS Awardee for Sports, respectively. The organization is currently searching for its 2022 awardees. You may nominate the most inspiring woman you know here.