Move over, Maria Clara: the fragile Filipina heroine from Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere may have been the portrait of an ideal woman back in the day, but in this age of self-expression, independence, and unlimited opportunities, modern Pinays have found their voice, power, and purpose in life—and they’re not afraid to use them.
This and other fascinating findings are the result of “FilipinaNext,” J. Walter Thompson’s Philippine-based version of “Female Tribes,” a proprietary insight study on women around the world conducted by JWT Global.
In the 2016 global study, 4,300 women between the ages of 18 and 70 were polled on their views concerning money, career, religion, sex and other relevant topics. The participants came from the US, China, UK, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, Australia, and South Africa. The Philippine study was based on quantitative and qualitative research among Filipinas across socio-economic classes ABCDE and between the ages of 18 to 70.
“FilipinaNext” recognizes the importance of “Female Capital,” or what the Filipina—as leader, professional, pioneer, consumer, and woman—contributes to society. Respondents of the local study also echo the optimism and pride of their sisters worldwide: according to “Female Tribes,” 76 percent of women globally feel it has never been a better time to be a woman.
“Comparing the results of Female Tribes with FilipinaNext, it is astonishing to note that despite being believed that the Philippines is largely a macho society, our local study saw that 85 percent of Pinays believe that there has never been a better time to be a woman while 96 percent believe femininity is a strength,” says Golda Roldan, managing director of JWT Philippines.
The Filipina as wealth creator. Chalk it up to the traditional role of controlling the family’s purse strings—or the shifting role of earning more than what her husband makes, or choosing to work while her better half manages the home. Whatever it is, women are clearly on top of money matters. Globally, 50 percent of women consider themselves the primary breadwinner, while in these shores, 80 percent of Filipinas identify themselves as the main household purchaser, and 73 percent say they make the majority of financial decisions at home.
However, Filipinas find handling finances to be a challenge, with 59 percent admitting that they spend beyond their means. Consequently, 81 percent of Pinays worry most about money.
The Filipina as professional. Married to their jobs? That appears to be the case among women the world over. According to JWT Global’s “Female Tribes,” 74 percent of the women who participated in the study linked their work to their sense of self. As such, 44 percent said they were willing to delay marriage and family to focus on building their career.
News reports about fewer Filipinos exchanging I Do’s in recent years prove that Pinays also aspire to be more than a wife and mother. In “FilipinaNext,” 58 percent of Filipinas would delay getting married and/or having kids to pursue their chosen career.
Interestingly, of all the women in the Asia-Pacific region, Filipinas are least likely to experience sexism in the workplace. This means, in a relatively discrimination-free work environment, the sky’s the limit for the professional Pinay.
When it comes to success, 72 percent of Filipinas say they motivate themselves to succeed. The rest are inclined to turn to role models: thanks to the influence of a prominent female figure, 41 percent “have taken risks in life that they otherwise would not have taken,” 40% “became more ambitious,” and 33 percent were encouraged to “go to school or pursue further education”. Interestingly, 15 percent even left an abusive relationship.
Where are Filipinas finding women to emulate? Not in media, apparently: 76 percent regard today’s female celebrities “too superficial.” This explains why a whopping 98 percent of Pinays assert the importance of establishing strong and substantial women in television and film. Still, they don’t need to look far for inspiration: 94 percent of Filipinas feel that women in general need to step up and serve as mentors to young girls.
“Our study shows that Filipinas want to be mentored and to mentor. Hence, JWT Philippines is introducing a new internship program specifically for women called ‘Babaelang: A tribe of women for women’. Through this, we hope to raise the next Filipina giants in advertising, marketing and communications,” said Roldan.
Globally, JWT holds an international mentorship program for female college students called the “Helen Lansdowne Resor Scholarship”, aptly named after the industry’s and JWT’s first female copywriter.
The Filipina as woman. Pinays are optimistic by nature. Despite acknowledging their insecurities, 80 percent of Filipinas are confident they can achieve their goals—and 41 percent claim they’re already on their way.
The “Babaelang” Mentorship Program’s first intake of mentees will start in June 2017. Students will be trained according to the different functions in advertising such as Creatives, Account Management, Strategic Planning, and other operational aspects as well in business such as Administration and Finance.
The hand-picked interns will be given the privilege of learning from industry leaders and influencers from JWT Philippines and its clients.
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