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Angelina Tan Guevarra shares what International Women’s Day means to her and highlights the importance of taking action and actively engaging in conversation to help #breakthebias.

International Women’s Day means celebrating the accomplishments and successes, whether big or small, of every woman across the globe. It is also a day to embrace who and what we are as human beings – our strengths, weaknesses and everything in between. Equally important, I believe this is a day for us to promote actions that will help elevate us as women: powerful, nurturing, limitless.

This year’s IWD theme, #BreakTheBias, means removing preferences, stereotypes, and discrimination. It is significant because it is the way to create a society where everyone is treated and evaluated equally, and rewarded meritocratically. I believe small gestures make a difference when it comes to breaking the bias. Actively engaging in conversations with people in our community will help spread the word and hopefully change the norm.

A piece of advice I have for women starting their careers is, “don’t be afraid to ask questions”. As someone just starting, there will be a lot of new concepts, ideas that will come your way. They may overwhelm and intimidate you. They may even make you think you’re inferior for not having the knowledge you need to do the job. But don’t be. It is perfectly fine to not know everything. If you don’t know something, just ask. It will not only help you gain knowledge, it will help you build connections at work.

When I reflect on women who have inspired me, on any given day I would say my mom. She truly was a very inspiring human being. But just this once, I would like to talk about the Philippines’ current Vice President and Presidential candidate, Leni Gerona Robredo. Since the pandemic hit, she has been relentlessly leading and helping my kababayans (fellow men) in the fight against COVID-19. She was able to do this despite having little to no support from the government. She was able to do so by tapping into the Filipino spirit of “bayanihan” (communal unity) where Filipinos help each other to get through the perils brought by the pandemic. Additionally, her office was recognized for being one of the most transparent government agencies in the Philippines, receiving the highest audit rating from the Philippines Commission on Audit for three successive years. To top all this, she has been raising three wonderful, accomplished daughters all by herself. She is truly inspirational.