When you gather women of different backgrounds in one room, it doesn’t mean that they’ll complain about men together. Instead, they stand on stage to share testimonials that will inspire and empower girls of all ages.
Every Girl Can, the brain child of She Talks Asia and Mano Amiga, brought together a mostly female crowd for an all-day seminar. Even though it started very early and ended in the late afternoon, the affair felt like a casual day out filled with thoughtful conversations and a few laughs. Topped with new quotable quotes that we’ll live by.
For the benefit of those who weren’t able to attend (or follow our Twitter updates), we rounded up what we learned from the key speakers. It’s the best thing you’ll need to start off the week.
There’s a saying that women should support each other and not bring each other down, especially when it comes to appearances.
Model-host Victoria Herrera talked about the importance of self-love to overcome insecurities. “Your words create your reality,” she says. “The social media mentality makes us say things to bring other women down. Love yourself first and not say bad things to other women. [You need to] find ways that’ll help you nourish your soul and your body.”
Meanwhile, her sister Teresa Herrera-Anthony also spoke about mindfulness and good intentions. Here, she emphasized the importance of looking after your physical, mental, social, and spiritual self to fully take care of yourself. “If you do [exercises that will improve these] 10 to 15 minutes a day, you’ll see a change in yourself,” she explains.
The Modern Filipina panel tackled the misconceptions surrounding the strength of Filipino women today. Writer Gang Badoy-Capati says that it can be found in our gentleness. “I don’t think the strength of a woman [should be measured] when they’re angry or ugly. I think we’re strongest when we’re gentle. We have aces that [men] don’t have,” she says.
Kickstart Ventures, Inc. vice-chairman and president Minette Navarrete echoes this, emphasizing the value of kindness. “In this world, it’s important to be kind. You don’t have to be aggressive to be strong,” she says.
Meanwhile, journalist and broadcaster Karen Davila urged women invest in education and take a stand. “It’s about getting an education. Invest in yourself. It’s really about what you stand for,” she says. “[Being a modern Filipina is being] able to stand up against the grain and decide for yourself.”
The same panel became slightly heated when the topic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s sexist remarks were brought up. Cong. Pia Cayetano, who’s close to the president, defended Duterte. She also adds that she’s used to lewd conversations between men because she’s “one of the boys.”
Instead of arguing, Minette summed it up with this piece of advice: “We need to be able to say that this is a good person, but that is a horrible thing to say or do. We need to be able to think for ourselves and not just be patient with them because we love and idolize them.”
It’s perfectly okay to admit that you’re still unsure about where you’re going in life. Counselor Pia Acevedo says that this is the first step to making the most of life. “In understanding [your uncertainty,] it’s your first step to clarity. Having the strength to admit that you don’t know gives you reason to not force yourself to be okay,” she advises.
Acclaimed advertising agent Merlee Jayme spoke at length about going through challenges before finding her calling in creating ads that send significant messages. If you’re having the same troubles, her advice is: “However many obstacles that your way, just take them all in.”
The New Frontiers panel opened our eyes to the women working in music, improv comedy, science, and more. Regardless if it’s male-dominated or not, you should remember to work your butt off to achieve success. “If there’s something you want to try or explore, by all means go ahead,” blogger and entrepreneur Cat Juan Ledesma says.
Brand strategist Michelle Barretto adds, “Knowledge is going to be your advantage. Money will fizzle out but no one can take away your knowledge.”
Proud of Jasmine and her millennial panel yesterday 💯 I loved how she spoke of mentorship and the importance of someone guiding you along the way. Also, shout out to my mom who came up to the audience mic to congratulate them on a job well done 😘 I was writing notes then heard a familiar voice- when I looked up I saw her talking and giving them a thumbs up sign 😂😂😂 (I love this because if there was someone guiding me along the way, it was mom for sure.)
In today’s social media savvy time, we often see people getting into social media fights. The participants of the Millennial Panel weighed in on this and said to choose who you engage with. “My rule is if you can’t say it to someone’s face, then I wouldn’t post it on Twitter or Instagram,” director Sam Lee says. DJ Patty Tiu also relates, “There are times that it’s below the belt already and you need to speak up. But if you think it’ll only make it worse, then don’t say anything.”
But social media isn’t always about fights. You can also ignore the hate and just do what you need to do to send a message. “Social media is such a double-edged sword. It can be a platform to make girls insecure. Or you can harness its power to support a cause,” says student activist Monica Magsanoc.
Photo courtesy of Jasmine Curtis-Smith’s Instagram account