International Women's Day

Raising Hope: Women Who Amplify Voices

Art by Issa Barte

Vogue Philippines celebrates International Women’s Day through “Raising Hope,” in a call for nominations of inspiring women. In a world where equality and social justice are often hard to come by, these women’s voices are crucial in amplifying their advocacies. 

From reproductive rights to sexual violence, women all over the world are disproportionately affected by gender based issues. Thus, women’s engagement in activism is crucial to challenge oppressive systems and discriminatory practices. Here, we honor the women who amplify marginalized voices and inspire collective action in their own communities, pushing forward for a safer, more inclusive, and just society for all. 

Ana Maria “Princess” Nemenzo, Nominated by Annika Hernandez

At 85 years old, Ana Maria “Princess” Nemenzo is still committed to teaching and learning about women’s issues, as told by her granddaughter, nominator Annika Hernandez. Often clad in purple, a color associated with women’s rights activism, Nemenzo has been a passionate socio-political women’s rights activist all throughout her life. She is the founder of WomanHealth Philippines, an organization dedicated to promoting, defending, and advancing women’s reproductive rights and self-determination. Nemenzo also played a pivotal role in the passage of Republic Act No. 10354 or the Reproductive Health Law in 2012, alongside other women’s rights organizations. 

With her passion for education and activism, Nemenzo is currently the director of OLL Child Development Center, a progressive preschool in Quezon City. She also continues to actively participate in meetings and conferences, representing various advocacy networks at international forums, recently representing the Center for Reproductive Rights, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, and Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network at the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“Many colleagues, friends, and family look up to her a lot, including myself,” Hernandez shares. “I’ve learned a lot about women’s issues through her, and she inspires me to be a free woman – free to make my own choices, and free to be myself in my own body.” 

Jo Enrica “Jean” Enriquez, Nominated by Clydie Pasia

Lack of justice in issues of sexual violence is unfortunately often uncommon, but nominator Clydie Pasia applauds Jo Enrica “Jean” Enriquez for her tireless efforts in pursuing justice. 

“I have personally witnessed her tireless advocacy efforts, which have led to tangible change in the lives of countless individuals,” Pasia says. “She instilled in me the courage to speak the truth, even when my voice is shaking.” 

Through her leadership at the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women—Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Enriquez has spearheaded multifaceted programs tackling policy advocacy, research, public education, and direct assistance to survivors, often working past office hours to support victims of sexual trafficking after unjust incarceration. Enriquez is also an advocate of anti-trafficking laws, recognizing the critical role of legislative measures to address the root causes of sexual trafficking. With a deep understanding of sexual violence and trafficking issues in over 17 years of dedicated work with with survivors, Enriquez continues to share her wealth of wisdom, knowledge, and profound experience with the people she mentors. 

Ana Victoria Caballero Margallo, Nominated by Cherry Cadiz

Courtesy of Ana Victoria Caballero Margallo

An advocate for women’s and LGBTQIA+ rights who embraces diversity and inclusivity in her art, Ana Victoria Caballero Margallo is an inspiration to nominator Cherry Cadiz.  From a young age, Margallo has been passionate about her advocacies, informing her work through collaborations with organizations such as UN Women Philippines, the International Labour Organization, and the Philippine Commission on Women. 

Now working as a multimedia artist and information specialist, Margallo utilizes her skills in graphic design, illustration, and video editing to amplify the voices and stories of local Filipino rural women, showcasing their work and contributions across various regions. As a published artist belonging to the Likhaan Biñan Collective, Margallo depicts real-life experiences with modern, practical, and inspiring beauty, particularly focusing on portraits of women associated with agriculture and extension services. Margallo also dabbles in other art forms such as music to expand on her advocacies, composing Filipino songs and supporting women with mental health struggles.

“Ana sees the goodness in all peoples, and that we all deserve the same rights and opportunities.” Cadiz says. “She supports the community in their efforts to raise awareness and celebrate diversity.”

 Malou Perez, Nominated by “@czsketches” 

Courtesy of Malou Perez

Despite her deeply impactful work in promoting animal rights and welfare, Malou Perez maintains a down-to-earth demeanor and is often seen in her trademark pearl earrings paired with casual denim and shirts, according to a nominator who goes by “@czsketches.” 

Perez is the founder of Pawssion Project, a non-profit organization focused on rescuing, rehabilitating, and re-homing abused and neglected animals, with shelters established in Bacolod and Bulacan. Since 2018, Perez has raised awareness on the plight of stray animals through various initiatives, including organizing events like Pawchella and displaying Brake-for-Animals billboards along EDSA.

“She is a voice for the voiceless. Back in 2018, we connected over social media when she was just starting to set up a shelter for the death row dogs she rescued from a Bacolod pound.” The nominator says. “From that moment on, she has blazed a trail for others to step up in terms of animal advocacy.” 

Alma Quinto, Nominated by Marty Ian Gideon Flores 

Courtesy of Alma Quinto

Alma Quinto’s art possesses the transformative ability to heal emotional wounds especially those caused by natural disasters, as expressed by nominator Marty Ian Gideon Flores. The artist specializes in creating process-based and healing art aimed at supporting communities affected by disasters. Some of her notable projects include “Soft Dreams and Bed Stories” (2003) A collaborative project with girl survivors of violence in Cuba, “House of Comfort” (2007), a collaborative project about trauma in the Philippines, “Floating Wombs Project” (2013), a project about disaster preparedness in Japan, “Community Mapping, Understanding Disaster” (2014), a curatorial project about disaster preparedness in the Philippines, and “Day Off Mo?” (2018),  a collaborative project about Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong. 

With a diverse portfolio of work exhibited all around the world, Quinto’s impactful projects have not only left a lasting impression on communities worldwide but have also inspired other artists and activists.

“Her approach in art inspired me to do a collaboration with her for my upcoming project on community art therapy for women survivors of gender-based- and sexual violence.” Flores shares.

Ma. Cristina Racasa Hebron, Nominated by Roussel T. Vargas

Courtesy of Ma. Cristina Racasa Hebron

Nominator Roussel T. Vargas commends Ma. Cristina Racasa Hebron for being a pioneering voice for persons with disabilities. Hebron is the founding President of the Metro Manila Persons with Disability Vendors Association, Inc., actively engaging in grassroots developmental and community projects on a voluntary basis despite her conditions.

Living with cerebral palsy, speech disability, and as a person who is hard of hearing, Hebron still exhibits unparalleled determination and exemplary leadership through initiatives such as “Relentless for Persons with Disability during the COVID-19 pandemic”, which impacted over 500 people with disabilities, most of them women. This project earned Hebron and her team the 2020 Quezon City Gawad Parangal Community Heroes Award for Pandemic Response, a first for a PWD group in 83 years.

Hebron is also a visual artist who launched the “Impalpable Art Workshop Exhibit” at the National Council on Disability Affairs in 2022. In 2023, she founded the De’ Via Philippines- a group of artists who are deaf and hard of hearing, with a goal to promote DEAF arts in the Philippines.

Atty. Nelisa Guevara-Garcia, Nominated by Jose Manolo Garcia

Courtesy of Atty. Nelisa Guevara-Garcia

Nominator Jose Manolo Garcia is a proud husband to his wife Atty. Nelisa Guevara-Garcia, who tirelessly works to advocate for abused and exploited children in Philippine courts. 

For nearly two decades, Atty. Guevara-Garcia dedicated herself to the International Justice Mission (IJM), where she served as Senior Special Counsel and Anti-Human Trafficking Specialist, resulting in 52 case convictions of 45 perpetrators, with four cases affirmed in the Supreme Court. As head of the legal department, her team achieved 120 perpetrator convictions, including 52 cases of Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC). Currently, she serves as the National Director of Prosecution Development at IJM Philippines, focusing on trauma-informed Child Protection Policies and capacity-building for public prosecutors, law enforcement agents, and judges. Atty. Guevara-Garcia led the conceptualization and publication of various knowledge products related to anti-trafficking and OSAEC casework, distributed nationwide.

Despite her significant achievements, she remains humble and dedicated to serving marginalized communities, believing in providing the best legal representation to those in need. “My wife continues to inspire me and our son by simply being the person that she is,” Garcia shares. “She has taught me that those who possess the skills, the knowledge and the means to help those less fortunate, should. It becomes a moral obligation to give back to the world.”

Visit everyday this month for daily features on inspiring women, as nominated by the people whose lives they’ve changed.

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