MEN AND women should be equally empowered to achieve a better country, a former mayor of San Fernando, La Union and first recipient of UST’s Sonia R. Lorenzo Award, told Thomasians in a forum.
“[Women empowerment is important] so that you (men), our partners, would look up to us not as women who would be walking behind you but walking beside you… But if we walk together, shoulder to shoulder, we can do it together and we can have a better community, a better Philippines,” Hon. Mary Jane Ortega said.
Ortega said that “feminism is when you say nobody is good enough but women, but you say women empowerment, [you] say men are needed as much as women.”
“They said men hold half of the sky up and so do the women. If you do not empower one sector of society, then you will have only 48 percent of the skies up and the rest of 52 percent down. And in like manner, if we only empower women, then the sky will not be as beautiful as it is,” she added.
Ortega also challenged Thomasians to excel not only in their studies but also in life.
“Some of you may not be graduating with honors but you can be a summa cum laude in life… All you have to do is to believe in yourself, and make sure that you always continue improving yourself in this university called life,” she said.
The Sonia R. Lorenzo Award is an award given by the University of Santo Tomas through the Department of Political Science and Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership to outstanding women in local governance.
Ortega is the founding president of the Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines and the first Filipino awardee of the United Nations Habitat Scroll of Honor Award, the most prestigious human settlements award in the world.
The forum titled “Public Leadership and Good Governance” aimed to promote women ethical leadership and good governance in line with the Sonia R. Lorenzo Award. F MIKKAH F. FACTOR