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Sigue: Recognizing Outstanding Women of 2019 (Part 1)

Disruptive Mode

ARTEMIS, NASA's latest project, aims to land a woman in the moon and set a moon base by 2024. Successfully so, it launched an all-women spacewalk last week for the whole world to see. The project named after the goddess of hunting and the moon, is a rerun of Apollo, the mission to the moon named after the god of sun and brother of Artemis. Another major milestone in the history of women.

In the Philippines this week, we recognized 12 outstanding women as part of The Outstanding Women in Nation's Service (Towns) for 2019. Towns Foundation Inc. runs this national awards program every three years to recognize outstanding Filipino women ages 21 to 50 years old who have contributed positively to strengthening national capability and shaping the nation's future and served as catalysts for economic, social and cultural development, national security and national unity.

In 2016, I am blessed to be a Towns awardee under the field of information and communications technology (ICT) and part of the eight women who were recognized in from various fields.

This year's awardees are Xyza Bacani (Arts and Humanities), Carmina Bayombong (Financial Technology), Clarissa Isabelle Delgado (Education and Community Service), Maria Regina Justina Estuar (Computer Science and Social Psychology), Karla Patricia Gutierez (Performing Arts), Samira Gutoc (Peace Advocacy), Gay Jane Perez (Performing Arts), Patricia Ann Prodigalidad (Law), Stephanie Sy (Data Science), Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman (Education), Chiara Zambrano (Journalism) and Geraldine Zamora (Health and Medicine).

Xyza is street and documentary photographer whose inspiring works are featured in various international publications. She is part of the Asia 21 Young Leaders (Class of 2018). I was part of the Class of 2009. Xyza is a grantee of the WMA Commission, Pulitzer Center and an Open Society Moving Walls, all in 2017. She is one of BBC's 100 Women of the World 2015, 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2016, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2016, Fuji Film ambassador and author of the book "We Are Like Air."

Carmina founded and now leads InvestEd, an award-winning financial technology (FinTech) that has provided access to educational loans for hundreds of students around the country. Using her engineering background, Carmina developed InvestEd's proprietary credit scoring algorithm that can predict if an unbanked student will repay or not- even in the absence of credit history and collateral. The success of her algorithm has enabled institutions and individuals to invest their money in InvestEd's student loan program. InvestEd also provides digital career and financial literacy coaching to its student borrowers.

Clarissa founded Teach for the Philippines in 2012 to focus on improving teacher quality and addressing education challenges at the system-level. Through its three core programs, the organization concentrates its resources on recruiting, training, and individually coaching new and existing public school teachers, as well as giving Teach for the Philippines-trained teachers an opportunity to engage in public policy. She is also Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leaders and was selected as a member of the inaugural 2018 class of twenty Obama Foundation Fellows.

Clarissa is one of 2016 Ten Outstanding Young Men & Women Award (TOYM).

Reena Estuar is involved in design and implementation of health, disaster, agriculture ICT-based platforms for Filipino communities. She is a professor at the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science, Ateneo de Manila University and the Executive Director of the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center where mobile-web and cloud RnD and solutions are designed for transport, health, environment and disaster. She heads the Ateneo Social Computing Science Laboratory, where eBayanihan was founded. The laboratory works on social, behavioral and organizational predictive analytics, modeling and social network development and analysis.

Karla is the founder and currently the artistic and managing director of Philippine Opera Company (OPC) which began in 1999. She repackaged opera to make it more interesting to audiences and brought it to the provinces, private and public schools and conceptualized and produced POC's cultural arm, "Harana" to re-educate the Pinoys with the beauty of our cultural heritage and Philippine music and to bring back patriotism -- to love our own and support our own. The OPC conducts free workshops for young classical singers through the Young Artists Series and provides scholarships to public school students who will pursue music in college.

Samira is a journalist, a peace advocate, a former Armm legislator and former commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, civic and youth leader, speaker, journalist, women's rights and peace advocate. She helped organize the Ranao Rescue Team, a volunteer group set up in response to the humanitarian crisis that ensued after the Marawi siege in 2017 and spoke in Congress about human rights abuses during martial law in Marawi. As a legislator appointed by then President Aquino to introduce reforms in Armm, she authored the Enhanced Education Act in Armm and has pushed for regional advocacies on declaring schools as a Zone of Peace, Open Government, Civil Society and stakeholder collaboration among others.

Next week, I shall share more about the seven other awardees.


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