Ahon Pinay: Breaking the Gender Stereotypes in Male-Dominated Jobs

There can be numerous hurdles when it comes to working in a male-dominated field, but that doesn't stop these modern-day heroine from discovering how to shine in these male-dominated fields. Thanks to Ariel Ahon Pinay, an advocacy that supports and celebrates such modern-day heroine, more and more Filipinas are realizing their dreams and excelling in their chosen fields.

Ahon Pinay was specifically created to eliminate boundaries in gender professional capabilities and to open dialogue on issues women face in their respective industries – a reality that thousands of Filipinas live with everyday.

Before Ahon Pinay came along, Emilyn Saren, Marian Binalla, and Armida Matibag harbored few dreams for themselves, and never dreamt they could barge into male-dominated industries. Thankfully, Ariel Philippines partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Women’s Center (TWC) for Ariel Ahon Pinay, allowing many Filipinas the opportunity to finish technical-vocational programs in fields traditionally thought to be reserved for men.

Through determination and hard work, they went through the intensive program of night classes, successfully getting their diplomas after months of rigorous training. The program allowed them to hone their skills in areas such as Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Plumbing, Automotive Servicing, as well as Electrical Installation and Maintenance, which are in-demand jobs in the country and abroad.

Treading new ground, and empowering other women along the way

As expected, their journeys were not at all easy. As trailblazers, the three women experienced some skepticism from their male colleagues, especially when they were just starting out, but they did not let this faze them. They realized that being a female in a male-dominated field is not a disadvantage, especially when one has the right skills, a positive attitude, and determination to succeed.

Emilyn Saren
Plumber at Integrated Contractors and Plumbing Works (ICP)

Emilyn shares her experience working in a job more commonly associated to men. “May mga panahon din na nawalan ako ng tiwala sa sarili ko tapos iniisip ko kung paano ko malalagpasan yung mga pagsubok at kung kaya ko ba kasi lahat sila lalaki. Napakahirap talaga pero nung katagalan, naging ok din. Maayos yung management at ino-orient talaga yung mga trabahador at sinasabi na kailangan respetuhin ang mga babae at sinasabi nila na, “TESDA graduate yan at respetuhin niyo sila. Pwede natin silang paghangaan, dahil ang tipikal na trabaho ng lalaki ay nakakayanan nila.”

Armida Matibag
Electrician at ANVIC Construction

In facing challenges in the workplace, persistence is necessary. Armida recounts “Sa una, hindi naging madali ang pagtrabaho sa isang construction site lalo na sa isang katulad kong babae. Minsan, hindi naiiwasan na may nambu-bully at nangangantyaw kasabay ng mabibigat na tasking, pero kinaya ko naman lahat ng iyon. Ginawa kong motivation ang mga challenges na iyon upang lalo ko pang paghusayin ang aking trahaho at mapatunayang kaya ko.”

Despite the difficulties, there is much that they have all learned. “Mahirap din, kasi minsan nagbubuhat, at kailangan mo lakasan pero marami ka namang matutunan dito. Kung ano yung mga alam ng mga katrabaho mo ituturo din nila sa’yo. Marami talagang aral na mapupulot,” says Marian.

The women all acknowledge how the training they received from TESDA has helped them in their respective careers. To date, the training program of TESDA in partnership with Ariel Ahon Pinay has produced sixty graduates of highly skilled Filipinas who are ready to shine in the workplace.

Emilyn recalls “Noong hindi pa po ako nakakapag-TESDA, wala akong tiwala sa sarili ko, kumbaga walang pag-asa magkatrabaho. Noong nag-TESDA na po ako, naisip ko ‘makakagraduate na ko, mabubuhay ko yung anak ko’. Pwede na rin akong mangibang bansa, at may pag-asa na magkaroon ng maayos na sahod at trabaho. Mayroon po akong pinanghahawakang papel na nakapagtapos ako, lalo na para sa mga katulad naming indigenous people na walang aasahang iba.”

Marian Binalla
Welder at Air Movement Company

Marian, for her part, recalls that “Bago pa po ako magtapos sa TESDA may mga nag-aalok na ng trabaho. Hinihintay na lang kami grumaduate tapos papapirmahin na lang kami ng kontrata.”

If there is one thing that brings enormous satisfaction to the women, it is that their respective companies are now welcoming more women into their line of work. They see this as a positive sign and proof that their contributions are valued Ariel as a partner for women empowerment

For Ariel, the success of these three women shows that gender equality can be realized. “P&G is a staunch supporter of gender equality. P&G’s global #WeSeeEqual initiative is alive in the Philippines through the Ahon Pinay campaign. We believe in empowering women to reach their full potential by helping break barriers that exist in society, particularly in the workplace. We know that there is nothing that women cannot achieve, and Ariel embraces its role in ensuring that women receive the right training and support to be whatever they want to be,” said Louie Morante, Regional Brand Communications, P&G Asia Fabric Care.

TESDA’s Director General Sec. Isidro S. LapeƱa agrees. “We have seen that women can shine in fields that many have always thought were only for men. We are proud to be a partner of Ariel Ahon Pinay in their praise-worthy advocacy, and we are grateful to see that we are helping Filipinas fulfill their vision by letting them realize their dreams for themselves and their families.”

To other women who want to get into male-dominated areas, the three women share their valuable support.

“Tibayan mo lang ang loob mo at huwag kang panghihinaan ng loob kasi maaabot mo rin ang mga pangarap mo,” says Emily.

“Unang una, respetuhin mo ang sarili mo at siguraduhin mong buo ang loob mo sa lahat ng pagsubok na maaaring dumating sa iyo,” shared Marian.

“Sa mga kababaihang tulad ko, masasabi ko lang na ‘wag tayong matakot na ipakita ang ating mga kakayahan. Huwag tayong matakot na makipagsabayan sa mga kalalakihan, dahil kaya natin ito,” concluded Armida.

Taking Ahon Pinay to greater heights

Ariel Philippines will continue to push for its Ahon Pinay initiatives that will empower women to pursue their goals and make their dreams a reality.

Aside from the refurbishment of the TWC Automotive training facilities, they will also be aiding through additional equipment necessary for the registration of the 3-year diploma course in Automotive and Land Transport Technology, to be offered to 25 trainees.

This exciting opportunity with a new diploma course would be tied in with the registration of ten (10) female trainees of Automotive Servicing NC II for their international certification with the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI), which is an internationally-recognized automotive awarding organization based in the United Kingdom.

In introducing this revamped partnership geared towards female empowerment, the course will be implemented by first conducting a Competency-Based Training in Automotive Servicing NC II within 2019 for 25 students.

Be inspired and rise up with Ariel Ahon Pinay and TESDA Women’s Center. To keep up with the updates, follow Ariel Philippines’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ArielPhilippines and TESDA Women’s Center’s Facebook page https://facebook.com/tesdawomenscenter. For those interested to enroll in TWC’s Ahon Pinay courses, feel free to course your inquiries to TWC’s email address twc@tesda.gov.ph and landline number (02)817-2650.

About the proud Ariel #AhonPinay graduates
Emilyn Saren, Marian Binalla, and Armida Matibag finished technical-vocational programs, done in partnership with Ariel Philippines, at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Women’s Center. Today, they are successfully breaking gender stereotypes through their contributions and strong presence in the workplace, alongside other modern women.

Today, Emilyn Saren is a plumber, where she is in charge of plumbing installations for sanitary water lines and installation of fixtures. She graduated from taking up “Plumbing”.

Marian Binalla graduated under the “Shielded Metal Arc Welding” course, and she is a welder at an airconditioning company, where she fixes and tests chillers and airconditioning units before these are sent off to suppliers.

Armida Matibag is an electrician who climbs electric poles to install wirings and carries heavy wires and ladders to do the job right. She graduated with a certificate on “Electrical Installation and Maintenance”.


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