Every second in every day, there is a woman breaking through the glass ceiling—dominating a field once thought to be only for men, and shining in the process.
Emilyn Saren, Marian Binalla, and Armida Matibag are examples of Filipinas who break gender stereotypes by entering in male-dominated industries.
Through the partnership of Ariel Philippines with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Women’s Center, they went through the intensive program of night classes, which allowed them to hone their skills in areas such as Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Plumbing, Automotive Servicing, as well as Electrical Installation and Maintenance.
As expected, their journeys were not easy. As trailblazers, the three women experienced some skepticism from their male colleagues, especially when they were just starting out, but they did not let this faze them.
Saren, Binalla, and Matibag realized that being a female in a male-dominated field is not a disadvantage, especially when one has the right skills, a positive attitude, and determination to succeed.
“May mga panahon din na nawalan ako ng tiwala sa sarili ko tapos iniisip ko kung paano ko malalagpasan yung mga pagsubok at kung kaya ko ba kasi lahat sila lalaki (There were times when I didn’t believe in myself, wondering how I could overcome the challenges and if I could [do the job] since they’re all men),” related Saren.
She continued, “Napakahirap talaga pero nung katagalan, naging ok din. Maayos yung management at ino-orient talaga yung mga trabahador at sinasabi na kailangan respetuhin ang mga babae... dahil ang tipikal na trabaho ng lalaki ay nakakayanan nila. (It was difficult, but after a while things turned out ok. The management has been helpful, they remind all employees to respect women... especially because they can do jobs typically done by men).”
In facing challenges in the workplace, persistence is necessary.
Matibag shared “Sa una, hindi naging madali ang pagtrabaho sa isang construction site lalo na sa isang katulad kong babae. Minsan, hindi naiiwasan na may nambu-bully at nangangantyaw kasabay ng mabibigat na tasking, pero kinaya ko naman lahat ng iyon. Ginawa kong motivation ang mga challenges na iyon upang lalo ko pang paghusayin ang aking trahaho at mapatunayang kaya ko.”
(At first, it wasn’t easy working in a construction site especially for a woman like me. Sometimes, there were bullying and teasing on top of difficult tasking, but I was able to overcome them. I turned those challenges into motivation to be better at my job and to prove myself.)
The women all acknowledge how the training they received from TESDA has helped them in their respective careers. To date, the training program of TESDA in partnership with Ariel Ahon Pinay has produced 60 graduates of highly skilled Filipinas who are ready to shine in the workplace.
Saren related, “Noong hindi pa po ako nakakapag-TESDA, wala akong tiwala sa sarili ko, kumbaga walang pag-asa magkatrabaho. Noong nag-TESDA na po ako, naisip ko ‘makakagraduate na ko, mabubuhay ko yung anak ko’. Pwede na rin akong mangibang bansa, at may pag-asa na magkaroon ng maayos na sahod at trabaho.”
(Before I enrolled in TESDA, I didn’t have confidence in myself, that I could find a job. But after TESDA, I thought to myself, ‘I can finally graduate, I will be able to provide for my child.’ I can now work abroad, and I have a chance to get a stable job and earn better.)
For Ariel, the success of these three women shows that gender equality can be realized. “P&G is a staunch supporter of gender equality. We believe in empowering women to reach their full potential by helping break barriers that exist in society, particularly in the workplace. We know that there is nothing that women cannot achieve, and Ariel embraces its role in ensuring that women receive the right training and support to be whatever they want to be,” said Louie Morante, regional brand communications at P&G Asia Fabric Care.
TESDA’s director general Sec. Guiling A. Mamondiong agreed. “We have seen that women can shine in fields that many have always thought were only for men.”
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