Two female friends hugging each other

As a famous women empowerment quote goes: “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of women who have her back.” Stories of women empowerment hold more than just words — they carry ripples of positivity across the world. Telling these stories gives them power, just as hearing them builds confidence and strength. Here are some stories from Filipinas who share when they felt most empowered by another woman. 

Having the Confidence to Follow Your Dreams

“Nikki, one of my closest friends since high school, encouraged me to model because of my slender build and tall frame. She showed me that confidence is not driven by but by attitude. I never thought I could model because I felt modeling was only for beautiful girls. I carried the childhood trauma from teachers who made me feel ugly during my school days. I tried modeling to gain confidence. I didn't become a supermodel, but being in the fashion industry led me to become a makeup artist — all because she egged me on to keep building my skills.

“It went full circle when I had the privilege of doing her makeup on her wedding day. We are now living our adult lives, but she hasn't stopped encouraging me. Despite being a mother to two boys and an entrepreneur, she still finds time to help, especially when I was going through my pregnancy. The way she went through her pregnancies and her words of encouragement made everything look easy. She made me feel I can do it, too.

“For me, women empowerment is not just supporting, but reminding you of the strength you already have. Nikki has done that for me multiple times without expecting anything in return. Her empowering friendship is something I cherish and hope to see everyone have.” — Hannah Pechon, model and makeup artist.

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Sharing the Value of Independence with the Young

“All my life, women have inspired and helped empower me. My grade-school English and Speech teacher Victoria Mañganti told me when I was in seventh grade that I would be a writer someday because my writing and reading were quite advanced for my age. Her words still give me strength to this day because she was a 'terror' teacher, but she saw my potential. So, whenever someone tells me they didn't like what I wrote, I think of Mrs. Mañganti and how highly she thought of my writing.

“Of course, there is also my daughter Juliana, who makes me thankful that I decided to become a mom. When I see how compassionate and kind she is, especially to other people, it validates my decision to become a mother. She has helped me see things from a young person's point of view and that some of the things I thought were right really aren't. Being Juliana's mom and seeing how she is every day makes me a stronger and more empowered woman.” — Dinna Chan Vasquez, journalist.

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Having the Support of Friends and Family 

“As I look back, I can see that there was always a strong female influence in my life. The women in my family are my biggest inspirations. My mom, my grandmother, my grandaunt, and my sisters are really strong women, and I rely on them a lot, especially during tough times, which are a lot lately.

“Throughout my career, I’ve worked with strong women. One of them is my business partner, Ruby Villavicencio-Paurom. We have been working together for more than 15 years now, and we have known each other for more than twenty years. In all those years, she has always been encouraging me, pushing me to become better, and always helping me overcome my challenges in life.”— Kelly Austria, public relations maven.

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Being Surrounded by Strong Women

"I am lucky to have grown up around women empowerment. My mom Irma is a strong force in my life and is practically my best friend. She led by example, showing me that obstacles can always be surpassed, be it professionally or in our personal lives. Mom makes sure that we take pride in who we are, what we are capable of, and what change we can bring to other people’s lives. She always reminds me of my worth and that I remain humble.

“Another great woman is my boss of almost four years and friend of six years, Jen. Our relationship is based on trust, almost like telepathy. She invests in her people, knowing who they are as people and not employees or a headcount. She encourages me to think big and always go beyond my comfort zone. From our numerous conversations, there is one phrase she said to me years back that holds until now, ‘Walang problemang walang solusyon (Every problem has a solution)’.

"That simple phrase powers me through whatever difficulties I face — at work, in relationships, with family. She continues to be my friend and mentor to this day. Trust, love, and truth; when they are given freely and openly, it empowers every single human being. I am fortunate to have these two women around me at times when I forget who I am, or what my purpose in life is.” — Sam Unson-Gallardo, makeup artist.

Leadership That Inspires You to Grow

“I spent eight years working at a publishing company led by women, so it was a truly empowering experience. I’ve always believed that no matter how great you are at your work, it will still always take at least one person to believe in that ability or see the potential in you to grow in a company.

“My former boss and editor, Yvette Fernandez, was that to me. I was promoted at least five times because she believed I had the potential to be and do more. She empowered me as a writer and an editor, allowing me to explore topics I wanted to tackle and write about, whether it’s a complicated story or something that needed management approval. In hindsight, I see how important this was in my growth as an editor and as a person, and I’m grateful to have had such an empowering woman as a boss.” — Nicole Limos-Morales, beauty editor. 

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Inspiring and Motivating Energy

“I feel empowered collectively by the ladies at my company, Storyscope. Being surrounded by such a dynamic team and strong personalities at the workplace pushes me to always have that growth mindset. The positive energy that flows among us makes me want to do more and not be afraid to make mistakes and take risks. It empowers me to dream even bigger for all of us.” — Michelle Del Rosario, Chief Executive Officer. 

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Knowing the Value of Hard Work

"I’m lucky to have been surrounded by strong women all my life. My mom – although she may not have intentionally done so – showed me how to be a go-getter and how to value hard work. Honestly, I hated it when I was younger, but I started appreciating that when I was in high school. She would always tell me, ‘Do not put things off for tomorrow. Do it now,’ and ‘Always be prepared, have a backup plan.’

“She was so tedious — I believe I got my nit-picking attitude from her. But she was also a vital part in growing the family’s business. My dad started it, but it was her discipline and hard work that enabled all of us to have a privileged life. In college, I was empowered by the upper-class students, women faculty, and the sisters at Assumption. They ingrained in us that women can be leaders, that gender should never be a reason as to why you can’t achieve great things.

“One that truly stood out was (aunt) Frances Bayer. She believed in me and mentored me to become the President of our organization, and then become the Vice President for External Affairs for the Junior Philippines Economic Society.” — Heidi Manabat, marketing and public relations professional.

Beauty is Empowering in More Ways Than One

“There are many false notions about the beauty industry, but the truth is, it’s through being a beauty journalist that I met the warmest, most wonderful, most supportive friends. It’s always a pleasure to attend events because it would be like hanging out with friends while drinking champagne and trying on new makeup — what could be better than that?

“Moreover, these friends who saw me from across a crowded room, introduced themselves, and invited me to sit with them back when I was a newbie, are the same friends that continue to support me in my new chosen path as a publisher. They are beautiful inside and out, and they by accepting me for me.” — Chonx Tibajia, journalist and editor.

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Women empowerment doesn’t always have to be grandiose. You can start by promoting women’s sense of self-worth – it can be as simple as telling a friend, “You’ve got this,” just when they need it most. How are you going to empower someone today?