The National Archives of the Philippines (NAP) joined the celebration of 2021 National Women’s Month, held annually in the month of March. This is in line with the government’s international commitments on gender and development, to promote and defend women’s rights. 


To kick-start the celebration of this month-long activity with the theme: “Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!” The NAP held an institutional gathering on March 8, 2021, in line with Republic Act (RA) No. 6949 which declared every 8th of March as the National Women’s Day. 


In Ms. Marietta R. Chou’s speech, NAP’s Deputy Executive Director, she recognized the important role of Juanas and how they continue to keep the institution operational during the pandemic. She said that the strength of a woman lies in her resilience and ability to remain steadfast despite the many obligations they have and the challenges brought by the pandemic. 


“In these hard times because of the pandemic, they say: ‘women are always a source of inspiration for family and the society,’” Ms. Chou added.


Ms. Gina M. Papa, Chief of Training and Information Division (TID) shared the struggles she encountered and overcame during the pandemic which she described as “stressful” and “challenging” part of her life. She also recalled the difficult circumstances that she and her husband experienced and how she felt “sad, worried, and scared,” all at the same time. 


Ms. Papa recounted the challenges they went through and how the pandemic made it harder to overcome. She shared how she serves as her husband’s personal nurse while juggling her work at NAP because he suffered from a stroke in 2020. With immense pressure and responsibilities resting on her shoulders, she admitted that at one point, she felt clueless on how to continue and embrace the new normal.


“Lagi nating iisipin [na] ang kakayahan ng kababaihan ay hindi matatawaran. Tayong mga kababaihan ay dapat [na] maging malakas at handa sa anomang hamon ng buhay ng may paninindigan at takot sa Diyos,” she said. 


The other Juanas of NAP also shared how they braved the pandemic. Ms. Annelyn C. Lao, Officer-in-Charge of Regional Archival Network (RAN) Cebu said that she was able to continue her work as a public servant by having a positive mindset. While Ms. Ma. Patricia C. Suliba, Records Management Analyst I encouraged her co-workers to become an image of strength, and Archivists, Ms. Myra Angela S. Julian, and Ms. Marifel B. Bale highlighted the importance of having a strong faith in God. 


As the world continues to move towards a gender-equal society, Executive Director Mr. Victorino M. Manalo emphasized the importance of empowering women and how gender-based inequalities will always reflect on men, and everyone in the society. He asserted that the true message of Women’s Month is to treat people equally, regardless of their gender identities