International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8 and recognizes the impact women have on the world. In honor of this holiday, we’re highlighting some incredible Filipino women whose achievements will inspire you this International Women’s Day and throughout the year.
Corazon Aquino (1933-2009) Corazon Aquino was a key figure in the People Power Revolution, which brought an end to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. In 1986, she became the first female president of the Philippines as well as the first female president in Asia.
Dolly de Leon (b.1968) Dolly de Leon has had a long acting career in film, television, and on the stage. In 2022, she made history as the first Filipino actor to be nominated for a Golden Globe, earning the honor for her role as Abigail in Triangle of Sadness.
Hidilyn Diaz (b.1991) Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She is the first athlete to win an Olympic gold medal for the Philippines.
H.E.R. (b.1997) Singer/songwriter Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, known professionally as H.E.R., became the first Black and Filipino Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast when she appeared in the role for the film’s live 30th-anniversary celebration. Her many accolades include an Academy Award and five Grammy Awards.
Dawn Mabalon (1972-2018) Filipino American historian Dawn Mabalon documented the history of Filipino Americans. She wrote the book "Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton" and co-wrote the books "Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong" and "Filipinos in Stockton."
María Orosa (1893-1945) María Orosa fought for the Philippines as the captain of a guerilla unit during World War II. Her inventions of the soybean-based drink Soyalac and Darak, a vitamin-packed rice cookie, helped save thousands of lives during the war. Orosa invented hundreds of other recipes, most notably the beloved banana ketchup, a staple in Filipino kitchens.
Melanie Perkins (b. 1987) Entrepreneur Melanie Perkins is the daughter of an Australian-born teacher and a Malaysian engineer of Filipino and Sri Lankan descent. Perkins is the co-founder and CEO of the graphic design platform Canva.
Maria Ressa (b. 1963) Journalist Maria Ressa is the co-founder of the news website Rappler. A staunch advocate of free speech, she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, making her the only Filipino Nobel laureate to date.
Geraldine Roman (b.1967) Journalist and politician Geraldine Roman made history in 2016 when she became the first transgender person elected to the Congress of the Philippines. During her time in office, she has pushed for anti-discriminatory legislation and is a strong supporter of the SOGIE Bill to protect LGBTQ+ rights.