By Francine Ciasico
“We Make Change Work For Women” — this is the theme for this year’s National Women’s Month.
It places emphasis on women as symbols of empowerment for development with true compassion and real change.
Moreover, women have often been identified with superb leadership skills.
Here are few of the many modern day women who continue to embark change in history as they fight for their advocacies for the betterment of the majority.
Senator Risa Hontiveros (LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill, Philippines)
It took 17 years before the LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill was brought up in the Senate.
The bill promotes the protection of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) community from bullying and discrimination.
Senator Risa Hontiveros sponsored the Senate Bill 1271, or the Anti-Discrimination Bill.
She stated that Philippines has the highest rate of murders of transgender people in Southeast Asia, and the second in the continent.
Hontiveros also made reference to the slain Filipina transgender Jennifer Laude.
Conservative senators such as Senate Majority Leader Vicente (Tito)Sotto III and Senator Joel Villanueva voted against the bill, which delayed the passing of the bill.
The bill is pending action until now in the Senate plenary.
Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (TIME’S UP, United States)
The New York Times published a letter of solidarity written by Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, a group of women farm workers who dedicate themselves in ending gender-based violence, exposing Harvey Weinstein on his sexual assault allegations.
Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd confirmed the allegations and are among the women who were victimized by Weinstein over the years.
Inspired by Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, the Golden Globes 2018 was dominated byelegant black as Hollywood actresses and celebrities adopte an all-black dress code to raise awareness regarding sexual harassment.
Influential women such as Emma Stone, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Amy Poehler, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, and Emma Watson were accompanied by prominent activists and advocates as their guests.
Emma Gonzales (Gun Control Movement, United States)
Last Valentine’s Day, 17 people (including students and teaching staff) were killed as a massive shooting happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
One of the student survivors, Emma Gonzales, led a protest campaign for gun violence prevention, putting the campaign against the National Rifle Association (NRA) which is against gun control.
Recently, 71 percent of the Florida House voted against the bill that would prohibit purchasing of assault rifles.
“To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.” Gonzales said as she delivered her speech at a gun control rally, three days after the shooting.
The protest will continue as a gun control demonstration titled ‘March for Our Lives’ will be held on March 24.
Ala’a Basatneh (#Chicago Girl, Syria)
When Martial Law was declared in Syria under President Bashar al-Assad, Syrian-American online activist Ala’a Basatneh became one of the lead organizers for the movement against Syria’s current government.
Even though Basatneh lives in Chicago, United States, she had communicated constantly with journalists, protesters, and activists in Syria in order to voice out her sentiments regarding the Syrian conflict.
They held meetings to obtain video footages and photos to be used on Basatneh’s protests through social media.
Behind her laptop, she inspired people to fight for their freedom despite the troubles that they are all going through.
A documentary film titled “#Chicago Girl: The Social Network Takes on a Dictator” talked about her story and this can be streamed through Netflix.
Sampat Devi Pal (Gulabi Gang, India)
Women oppression has been a serious issue in India.
Women were always held silent as they did not have the freedom to speak out their minds and concerns and were often molested and raped in public.
In order to bring justice and to promote education of girls, a group of Indian women activists called Gulabi Gang was formed with over 100,000 members.
The group was led by Sampat Devi Pal, visiting each and every house to encourage women to fight against abuse and to teach them self-defense.