The trainer asked, “What do you think a woman can contribute when her community is facing a disaster, say after a super typhoon battered her place?”
“Sweep the streets,” a man said.
These were the exchange of words I heard when I once attended a Gender and Development Training. To the eyes of some, or maybe most, women are only capable of doing menial tasks. I was hurt. And insulted at the same time.
Was it the trainer’s fault for asking such a question? Or was it the man’s for giving an answer he thought is right?
It was neither’s.
The real problem is lack of awareness. Ask a random woman what she can do in the same scenario given and we still don’t have a hundred percent guarantee of her giving a satisfying answer.
But it is not only the roles of women that are not highlighted. It is not only the women who are kept at the margins. The out-of-school youth and the indigenous peoples are another two groups. The engagement of the former is not much asked for. The efforts of the latter are not fully recognized.
I write to somehow address this problem. For now, I will be writing short hypothetical poems to share stories of the marginalized. But it is my greatest dream to feature true stories of representatives from these groups. Someday, I would love this blog to somehow contribute to their empowerment and development of self-actualization. And all these are just my own initial little step to center the margins. To break down barriers.
I am a BS Biology graduate who loves writing. I had been part of the school’s publication in grade school and high school. Before, I used to write song lyrics for my sister and I have been very fond of writing poems even back then. But I didn’t really become great at writing. And I know why. It’s because I don’t read much. Yep, that’s why my pieces aren’t really that good. When I started to criticize myself and my write-ups, I led myself to my own burnout and didn’t write anything for almost seven years.
Now, look at me. Starting out a blog and having a domain of my own. Yes, my writing style’s now a bit different from before and everything needs polishing, but I couldn’t be any prouder for myself! And, oh, I’m starting to read some books, too, and finally, I’m starting to get it why reading is addictive. No matter how small a step this could be, an inch forward is still an advancement.