November 30, 2023

Stories of overseas Filipino workers are the most inspiring and emotional modern tales. They always tell a story of journey and hardship that turns into success. These stories touch the heart and spark hope and determination in all of us. Stories of “OFW Juanas” give meaning to life and inspire us.
The Covid-19 pandemic may have had an adverse impact on our OFWs but that would not stop them from working hard to make a living. They make the difficult decision of working thousands of kilometers away from their families so they can earn money to provide for the needs of their love ones.
Among the thousands who work abroad are mothers who make the heartbreaking decision to travel to another country leaving their children back home. Among them is 24-year-old Candice, who works as a nurse in a multi-specialty outpatient clinic in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She left a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son.
Going abroad is the most difficult decision Candice made because there was resistance from her family and not everyone understood that her decision was for her children’s future. The only means to get closer was video calls when she gets a chance so she gets updated with her children’s everyday life. Stories like that of Candice remind us that distance is not a hindrance to a mother’s love.A parent’s love goes beyond borders and distance.
This March, we celebrate Women’s Month and this serves as a tribute, a platform, and a call to action that highlights the extraordinary roles of thousands of Juanas represented by Candice in society as pioneers and forerunners of change.
This year’s theme, “Juana laban sa pandemya: Kaya!” is different from the previous years’ because it is set in the Covid-19 pandemic backdrop, which poses both challenges and opportunities for women. Hence, this year’s observance highlights women’s participation in battling the pandemic as well as discusses gender issues exacerbated by the pandemic. It is the time to delve deep into the gender issues that emerged or become more felt during the health crisis, feature women who thrived despite the circumstances, and share support systems and government programs that address women’s issues and concerns.
There are several suggested activities for all of us stakeholders so we make change for women.
As suggested by the Philippine Commission on Women, we can produce information materials about our agencies or local government units’ services for women. We in government service and also the private sector are encouraged to create and distribute information materials (online and print) featuring the list of their gender-responsive programs and services which women can avail, as well as simplified steps and requirements to avail of such. Agencies with major programs and services for the public in response to the Covid-19 pandemic are enjoined to disclose the number of their women beneficiaries as they promote how more women could avail of their services.
We can help in the advocacy by hanging the 2021 National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) banner in front of offices and uploading to our website and social media accounts. Participating agencies and stakeholders can also produce and distribute different Information, Education and Campaign materials on the laws on women.
Let us support #PurpleMondays by wear anything purple on all the Mondays of March or even color your hoods with purple to signify support for women’s empowerment and gender equality. Stakeholders can use the NWMC Facebook profile frame that showcases online activities and join the online thread using #WomenMakeChange. We can also follow and share PCW’s official social media accounts to help us reach more Juanas.
Serbisyo para kay Juana encourages government agencies and private organizations that offer direct services, transactions, and products to the public to give special treats like freebies, discounts, special lanes, and other promos for women and girls on International Women’s Day (March 8) and/or other dates in March as a form of appreciation for women’s various contribution in the society. This initiative helps make the NWMC more known and felt by “every Juana.” In our society, there are some women who inspire, some women influence, and some women are capable of doing both.
“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water.” — Eleanor Roosevelt