July 17, 2024

Women are expected to be delicate and caring so seeing them excelling in male-dominated professions bring wonders. A woman lifting weights and mixing cement is an unconventional scene. A woman driving public utility cars is a norm breaker. Women of today are embracing their distinction, living a life that contrasts what a lot may have been raised to accept.
When I was in high school, girls can join the Boy Scouts of the Philippines where girls and boys would wear a brown polo-slacks and red handkerchief. A girl wearing a boy’s uniform may look quite odd but it’s a manifestation that women have dared to break the mold of gender gap and roles to conquer the male dominated sphere. The days where staying home, being a full-time housewife was viewed as the best profession for women are finally over. It has been a struggle for women to prove themselves in society. The differences in social, cultural, and biological aspect between males and females generated gender stereotypes.
Gender stereotypes is a preconceived view that men and women are arbitrarily designated qualities or attributes bounded and confined by their gender. Imposed by gender stereotypes, men are expected to maintain their “masculine” facade while women are confronted with discriminations when they exhibit gestures that are not expected of their gender.
In a workplace, when a man and a woman apply for promotion to become a head chef, traditionally, a male chef is more acceptable in society regardless of the fact that cooking is a household chore generally assigned to women. This can be attributed to the fact that higher paying job are chartered for men while it has been apparent that if women desire to hold top position, they have to pay their dues and are bombarded with a great deal of provocations, which can be connected to how society shaped a socially construed traits of a woman. Women are seen to be lacking the traits to be pioneers because of the obsolete link on women and their emotions – their vulnerability triggers irrationality making them incapable of handling pressure.
Aside from gender stereotypes, women were not given equal educational opportunity. While women of today can secure a college diploma, the girls before weren’t even allowed to go to school. Women were not allowed to dream high and if they do, the means to achieve such are repressed. The social stigma dictated that women should remain inside the home to do all the household chores since women are weak and fragile reflects how people disregard that there is more to being a woman than being a spouse, sister, or a mother.
The perception on women is changing gradually yet consistently. Women are now seen confidently standing in what used to be taboo places – places where once only men were allowed to. The world has become more tolerant around gender identity rather than roles. Today, these iron-willed women are no longer afraid to diversify conventional career choices as women have made a significant effort over the years to substantiate themselves in fields that were generally known as men-tailored professions. That’s why it is no surprise that we see women subduing the world of firefighters, police, a cab driver, journalists, politicians, engineers, etc. A woman doing unconventional jobs is more than empowering, it’s a game changer. Our genders should not be a factor to determine one’s role and position in society.
Babae ka, hindi babae lang” is a timely and powerful message I address to every women who courageously carved a niche for themselves in a world where masculinity rules and have done as such without being aware of the gender partition. We owe it to every women who are not afraid of breaking outdated social structures and cultivated an exclusive and unprejudiced environment where women can grow, excel, and lead; a space where women can get educated and compete with men; and a landmark where women can chase their dreams. March is not the only time when women are celebrated. We are celebrated everyday. (MERLY ANNE MANANDEG)