WHO RUNS THE WORLD?
This month, Maurice Arcache enumerates his list of power women who have made their mark on the country
I’m sure you know the old saying that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. Indeed, there are many women who are making a difference—and what a difference! One such wonder woman, palanggas, is my late kababayan Miriam Defensor- Santiago. Easily one of the most controversial—and certainly most intelligent—lawmakers, she bravely brought up a number of issues and controversies in a unique and somewhat absurd style—which I loved. Miriam was the tough-talking, no-nonsense commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration— and her mean-girl approach to the job won her the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service in 1988. She ran for the presidency twice, was a senator thrice, and had the distinction of being the senator who had filed the most bills—what an indomitable woman!
Currently fighting the good fight is Vice-president Leni Gerona-Robredo who is no stranger to either tragedy or adversity. Leni always seems to be causing a stir: she won against the Villafuertes (Camarines Sur’s biggest political clan) in a landslide victory when she ran for Congress and dove right into work from day one. Even now, dahlings, she’s working so hard to help eliminate poverty and hunger among the masses.
Since we’re talking about political doyennes, how can we not talk about the one and only Iron Butterfly, Imelda Romualdez-Marcos? Whether you love her or hate her, it’s no secret that she remains one of the most influential women in the country and is the only politician to have been elected to Congress in three different locations. Madame will always have the distinction of having been the youngest and most beautiful First Lady this country has ever had—and —and her name has become a byword for opulence and ostentation both here and abroad.
There’s Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the little dynamo who served as our 14th president. As the daughter of a president as well, she certainly knows her way around the political arena and has served as congresswoman, the first woman to be elected vice-president, and the second female president of the country. There was a time she was under house arrest and she had to wear a neck brace for a bit; but she’s bounced back. You can’t put the woman down. Go girl, go!Politics isn’t the only place where you can find truly great ladies: they rise to the challenge in boardrooms, too. There’s the brilliant Teresita “Tessie” Sy- Coson, the vice-chairperson of SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) and chairperson of BDO Unibank. It isn’t surprising that she’s been receiving corporate awards all over the place and has made it to Fortune’s Fortune’ annual list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in the World and Forbes Asia’s 50 Power Business Women. That’s pretty hard to beat, n’est c’est pas? Loida Nicolas-Lewis also remains a force to be reckoned with. The Filipino-born widow of the billionaire Reginald Lewis, TLC Beatrice founder and CEO, remains active in political causes, co-founding the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) in 1997. Even now, she continues to emphasise the importance of justice for veterans, and encourages the youth to fight for their lolos and lolas in order to keep their legacy of heroism alive. A perfect example of a truly empowered woman, dahlings. And let’s also give praise to women’s rights groups like Gabriela who continue to raise awareness as to the plight of their less fortunate sisters by pointing out critical issues such as welfare, healthcare, and equality in the workplace. After all, as Queen Bey herself puts it: “Who runs the world? Why, girls, of course!”
EMPOWERED FEMALES (Clockwise from top, far left) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, Leni Gerona-Robredo, Teresita “Tessie” Sy-Coson, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Loida Nicolas-Lewis