Vice President Leni Robredo has called on women to “break barriers” and “change the narrative” to prove that the strength of true leaders lies in compassion and dignity, and not in “macho posturing.”
Joining the Gender E-Quality Webinar by Liceo de Cagayan University on Friday, May 14, Robredo noted the challenges women leaders face today such as “long-held cultural dictates and deeply entrenched prejudices.”
“The only way how we can break those barriers is really to change the narrative para magpalit din iyong mindset (to change the mindset as well). So, our task now is to create more spaces to allow more women to find their footing and push forward to ensure that they are heard, they are respected, they are valued in their homes, workplaces, and communities,” she said in her online speech.
Noting women leaders like New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Robredo said that Filipinas themselves—from local leaders to ordinary Filipinas—have proven their mettle since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
What these women proved is that “no gender has a monopoly on service and leadership,” the vice president stressed.
“This bears pointing out because there are those who have come to equate being a strong leader with brashness and aggression, with the loud domineering style of leadership than more often and not disempowers and frightens others into silence and relies on brute force, and you know, macho posturing,” she said.
But true leaders are nothing like that, the former Camarines Sur representative added, as women leaders of the past year “showed us that there is a more humane and more effective way to show our strength as leaders.”
Although the pandemic might have hindered many to pursue their goals during the past year and break barriers in women leadership positions, she said “the task at hand remains the same to empower the last, the least, and the lost. and harness them into a tide that lifts all boats.”
While women will always “face multiple barriers” as others will judge women to be unfit for leadership positions, Robredo pointed out that women will “persist.”
“We may sometimes be reluctant, we may sometimes have personal preferences, but when we are called like any human beings whose conscience is really loud and clear, we respond. And when we do we must transform the narrative and keep repeating the truth.”