By Angelica Carballo Pago

Most issues that affect our progress (or the lack of it) as a humanity usually put women on the short end of the stick. Though many great strides have been made for women to reclaim their rightful place in societies, more challenges and barriers appear and reappear. Now more than ever, we face a hydra of problems that continues to regenerate, every chance it gets.

In historical, religious, economics and socio-political context, women are more likely to be discriminated against, paid less, interrupted, bypassed, overlooked and sacrificed. Especially in poor nations, women have limited means and avenues to participate in decision making processes, making their needs invisible and, most of the time, inadequately addressed, if at all.

As with all forms of gender-based violence, climate change victimizes women disproportionately. Women represent 75 percent of the informal employment, according to UN Women, and more likely to get their subsistence on natural resources, which are threatened by climate change. We cannot fully participate in the social and political arena when we are incessantly worrying about the threats our children face every day.

This is why we need to resist, and persist. We need to amplify our collective voices and raise our game against the system that puts our rights in the margins. We have to recognize that our struggles – whether we are in the farmlands or at corporate buildings – are connected. Our rights are the same, and one cannot survive without the other.

It should not be a one-off thing. I see hope in the faces of my sisters who fight back against the misogynist and racist government of Donald Trump. Here in the Philippines, the communities are rising up for the confirmation of a pro-people and pro-environment Secretary in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, a woman named Regina Lopez. More and more people are becoming ‘woke’ – rejecting their roles as bystanders while the rich and powerful decide for our collective fate. Women are once again marching on the streets – young and old, daughters and mothers – making their governments accountable and pushing for positive change in their communities and countries.


Let me leave you a secret that I have kept hidden in the depths of my thoughts, and never until now had the courage to speak about. Being a mother to one daughter and two sons, I love my children equally, and try to raise them as responsible, respectable, and conscientious adults. But allow me to share that of my three children, I have spent more time in the ‘streets’ with my seven-year-old daughter – rallies, that is. As a mother, and as a woman, I am constantly afraid that the world will not be kind to her, as it had not been as good to millions of other little girls in many parts of the world. I want her to see that she has the power and responsibility to fight back when her rights are being taken away from her; to be steadfast when her beliefs are being challenged; to stand tall when she is being belittled; to prove that she can when people are telling her that she cannot; to persist, even when everything is against her.

It’s time to stop looking for heroes and instead, honor and recognize the heroes and goddesses in us. We will not just claim for a space in the table: we will flip the table and fight with reckless abandon, and create the future we want.

For Leica.