LEADERSHIP THROUGH ADVERSITY International Women’s Day 2022

BY CRYSTAL DIAS, VICE-CHAIR FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS (FWA-UK)

THE 8th of March 2022 marked the day to commemorate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year, the FWA-UK‘s theme is “Leadership Through Adversity” and we explored how we can hone our skills to lead every day, lead and adapt through constant change and support, and show up for our community.

A leader is always moving forward even in the face of adversity when the pressure is unrelenting. During the past two years, when the pandemic swept across the world, women discovered the extent of their strength, bravery, and their ability to adapt. Adversity can indeed be character-building and can force someone to face their truest selves.

We are fortunate to have women, Filipino women in the UK, who have demonstrated their ability to lead in time of crisis, just as Mrs. Angeles ‘Nene’ Tuason Quimson did. She founded The Filipino Women’s Association UK nearly 34 years ago to counter the negative image of Filipino women portrayed by the UK media. We are saddened by her death last year, but we are grateful to our founder as we continue with her legacy to project a balanced and positive image of Filipino women in the UK.

On International Women’s Day, we were reminded of the amazing women who started it all with the likes of Clara Lemlich, a Ukrainian-born union organiser in 1909 who stood up for the rights of garment workers in the US. She was a bold leader who came to the attention of the outside world. In the present time, let us stand with Ukrainian women and girls. We salute them for their resilience in the face of harrowing experiences and never-failing hope.

We were joined for candid conversations by female leaders from the UK Filipino community as they talked about ‘Leadership Through Adversity’ via a virtual event livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube.


* ROWENA ROMULO: An award-winning business entrepreneur and owner of Kasa & Kin and Romulo Café & Restaurant in London. She is an FWA-UK member and a long-standing supporter of the Association.

* MAY PARSONS: the first COVID-19 vaccinator in the world. She is an FWA-UK member and a Modern Matron at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

* Cllr MYLA ARCENO: the first Filipino Labour councillor in the UK, based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

Our Patron, Madame Maria Linda Floirendo Lagdameo sent her warmest wishes to the strong and lovely ladies of FWA-UK on IWD 2022. She said that this year’s theme, ‘Leadership Through Adversity’ resonates with the current times. We have noteworthy projects that raised awareness of the contribution of Filipino women to the healthcare, science, technology, education, politics, and business in the UK and globally.

We’ve had three amazing women who had given us some inspiring messages dedicated to uplifting women and honouring their achievements. Women are the epitome of courage, hope, and life. Let us take a pledge this Women’s Day that we will make the world a much better place for them. You are bold, beautiful, compassionate, and caring.

Ms. Chair Sandy Montano, Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Women championing women empowerment, gender sensitivity and entrepreneurship disaster risk resiliency.

Ms. Rose Eclarinal, Bureau Chief for EMEA, ABS-CBN, executive journalist, and a 2021 Presidential BANAAG Awardee (Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas).

Ms. Pamela Gotangco-Hupp, a Filipina artist based in Switzerland and founder of PamPinay, an awardee of ‘The 100 Most Influential Women in the World’ by the Filipino Women’s Network and the 2021 Presidential ‘Pamana ng Pilipino’ Awardee.

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