Obviously, this article is written by another Filipina who takes pride of her nationality and the fact that she’s an engineer.
While I feel proud of who and what I am, I feel that a huge responsibility has been given to Filipina engineers like me to show people what I am capable of as a member of a male-dominated profession in a developing country. However, this isn’t really why I was inspired to write about this particular issue.
While I was scrolling through my feed, a certain article about a popular Filipina Instagram model caught my attention. Normally, boys praise her beauty and how she is the ideal girl for them. But in this certain article, people were bashing about the model being ashamed of her Filipino roots. Like any Filipino who loves the rich culture and traditions I grew up with, I felt disappointed at how she felt about the country she was from. While some people argue that she made those comments four years ago and her level of maturity has improved, it clearly reflected how she felt towards a certain race and how it sends a wrong message to her fans.
So,my question is, is there something I should be ashamed of?
As a Filipina living in the Philippines, I’ve seen the struggles everyone has gone through to survive in this country. Despite the harsh living conditions here, we manage to put a smile on our faces and still get our work done. All of the natural disasters that affect the livelihood of the people are often met with resilience and a strong faith that every hardship passes eventually. I am part of a nation with hot and controversial political issues that foreign institutions often criticize on. It’s never easy here in the Philippines but I am proud of being part of a nation that has people who help each other when the going gets tough. When met with divisiveness in several issues, we often become united when someone needs help. And when someone represents the country to the whole world and wins, everybody celebrates one’s victory. Have you ever wondered why Filipinos stop everything that they do when someone is featured or Manny Pacquiao has a live fight (and can I just say I wish he just stuck with boxing?)?
While many people often look down on Filipinos – always seeing us as people who only work low-paying jobs, Filipinos prove that we have something special to offer. Everyday, someone manages to bring pride by showing how we are more than capable of making a difference in this world. Despite the lack of budget and support from the government and private institutions, we use our resourcefulness and innovative minds to find ways to get things done. We are always met with problems and no matter how hard they get, we always find ways to solve them. I feel proud of a culture that sees problems as challenges – not to mention the support we get from our fellow Filipinos in and outside the country. Just wow.
Now, let’s go to being a Filipina engineer. I am proud to say that despite the notion that engineering is a job for men, more and more women enroll in an engineering course. May it be focused on civil, mechanical or electrical, young women find it possible now to reach for their goals in becoming engineers. It’s still not easy though. There will always be other people who feel it’s not a field for me and my female peers. We will often be underestimated by men and get easily discriminated by the people around us. In some cases, we are still seen as a gender who belong in the kitchen, waiting for our husbands to come home and feed them.
But unlike other countries, I feel thankful I get to be part of this new culture I’m seeing. Filipinas are becoming more involved in science, technology, engineering and math. Now, I hear young girls wanting to be a scientist, an engineer or even an astronaut when they grow up. Filipinas are given the option to choose who they want to be, what they want to be and where they choose to live. We are not confined to what society expects us to be, instead, we get to break the rules and create our own mold that can inspire younger generations to follow.
As for me, I get to be a female engineer. I get to be a licensed mechanical engineer who is free to live a life I want to live. It’s still not easy of course but hey, I have my freedom because I get to be a citizen in this nation where women can fight misogynists and show the world that women are more than capable of becoming an engineer.I must say, thank you Philippines, I have my freedom and I will do my best to protect it from people who try to take it away from me. With this privilege I was born into, I have the responsibility to uplift fellow Filipinas and support them in achieving what they want.
So here’s to every Filipina out there – may you be an engineer like me or not, be proud of your roots and let’s do our part in making this nation better for the future generations next in line.