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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Pulumbarit

Women Supporting Women: Challenge accepted

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

This afternoon, my sister in Canada, Melissa, tagged me in the #womensupportingwomen challenge.

It was the first time that she tagged me in a challenge.

Being a journalist, I first did some "research" before accepting the challenge. I learned that the hashtag #womensupportingwomen has gone viral with over 7.4 million tags as of this posting.

Then, the hashtag #challengeaccepted has over 4 million tags.

The New York Times said the challenge is a way for women to show support for one another.

Women's Health attempted to trace the origin of the viral challenge. However, it said, "It's not totally clear how the challenge got started, but it's being spread via DM (Direct Message) with the following message:

'There is a woman empowerment challenge going around on Instagram. I think you are so bad ass and amazing and I was careful to choose who I think will meet the challenge.... but above all I chose women I know who share my values and views of the world. You are one of those women. Post a photo in black and white alone, written “challenge accepted” and mention my name. Identify 50 women to do the same, in private. I chose you because you are beautiful, strong and incredible. Let's ❤️ each other!'"

I hope that the challenge will not just be a fad but would really help empower women. This is especially needed at this time when the whole world is trying to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ways to help empower women

The humanitarian organization World Vision has listed some ways to help empower women and girls.

Among its suggestions are:

(1) Telling women you know that you care.

Everyone is going through some difficulty or challenge of some sort, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometimes, all we need to do is to send a simple note or private message (PM) that we care and that we're ready to help when needed.

(2) Helping a new mom.

World Vision says a child's first 1,000 days are the most critical. Giving a gift basket of essentials such as clean water, diapers, blankets, and soap will help new moms. Do other things that will help ease moms' burden of raising a newborn.

(3) Mentoring girls

World Vision suggests mentoring young girls who live close to you. In this time of pandemic, we can do that online.

A few more ways

Personally, my advocacy for years has been to help women and girls in small and humble ways.

As a Person With Disability (PWD) due to slipped disc and benign spinal tumor, I am physically limited in what I can do for others. But I realized that there's also so much that I can do:

(1) Praying

Praying is more powerful than people realize. Praying is asking the all-magnificent, all-merciful God for help. By secretly and quietly praying for others, I know that I am doing my part in empowering others.

(2) Using my voice

I may be soft-spoken but I learned that I can speak out on issues, using my voice as a journalist and as one of the recipients of the 100 Fearless Filipinas award in 2017.

Based on my experience, we cannot empower others if we ourselves are not strong and empowered.

Here are a few simple ways to empower ourselves and other people, including women and girls:

(1) Take care of yourself.

We always hear the saying "we cannot give what we do not have." We need to be strong -- physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and others -- to help empower others. Take care of yourself. Choose what will strengthen, not weaken yourself.

(2) Know your worth.

You are precious and valuable. You are especially dear to God.

Always remember that your worth is not measured based on how popular you are on social media, in your community, or your workplace.

You are special and are deeply loved by God and this is what matters most.

(3) Learn when to say "yes" and when to say "no."

Life is difficult for everybody. We all go through many challenges all throughout the day. We do not need to burden ourselves even more.

Some people can be overbearing or unpleasantly domineering. Do not let such people put unnecessary and heavy burdens on you. At the same time, be conscious that you yourself are not being overbearing.

Then, you should also learn when to say "yes" when needed. Do not be apathetic and ignore other people when they need you. Have the courage to say "yes" for the right reasons.

(4) Be alert and avoid situations of danger and harm.

Be aware of what can harm you physically and even socially. Around you, avoid situations that can put you in harm's way. Avoid drugs and other vices that can ruin you. On social media, avoid fake news and sources of misinformation that can push you to make wrong decisions.

(5) When someone asks you to pray for them, commit to do it.

Oftentimes, we say, "I'll pray for you" but forget or neglect to do it. A short, simple, and heartfelt prayer will bring about unexpected blessings and wonders.

(6) Inspire positivity, not negativity, around you and on social media. We need to lift each other up, not bring each other down.

Thank you, sis

I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on women's empowerment, thanks to the #womensupportingwomen challenge. Thank you, my beautiful sister Melissa.

Instagram posts with the hashtag #womensupportingwomen

Here are some posts on Instagram using the hashtag #womensupportingwomen."

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