I have always believed that the women’s movement was created because we have so much to give, and not so much for the things we will receive.

Before the term gender equality was even coined, many women already have made strides to prove that, indeed, we have something to give. We have greater things to contribute than our beauty and our smiles. We can also write, we can also think, we can take photographs of war, we can wear lab gowns, HAZMAT suits, hard hats, and yes, we can also fight.

As a mother of a six-year old girl, I have long taken the task of being brave, not just for my daughter, but for every little girl who is bombarded by the capitalist agenda of making them feel less than perfect. Being brave does not mean we will not falter and we have no fears, but that is part of the wonderful story I will tell my daughter – that even though we are afraid – of arrests, of water cannons, of politicians shutting their doors in our faces when we are still talking, of lawsuits and jail terms – we soldier on, because there are things that are bigger than our selves. There are things bigger than our fears.

Women worldwide have greatly contributed to the struggle for environmental justice. For mothers, fighting for the environment is equal to fighting for their very lives, and the lives of their children and brothers and sisters. Just last week, Berta Càseres, an activist from Honduras, was shot dead for fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples. Here in the Philippines, Gerlie Menchie Alpajora, was brutally murdered in front of her children for her work in fighting illegal fishing in Sagnay. Lumad mothers continue to flee from their lands because of militarization of their ancestral lands.

The original Women’s Day in 1911 was created to advance women’s right to vote. In the Philippines, our grandmothers were finally given suffrage rights in 1937. Our voting rights came not without struggle, but our grandmothers soldiered on. While it was not as bloody as our western counterparts, the lobbying sure made stories worth telling their apos. We Filipina women are lucky, as our Saudi sisters got their right to vote just last year!

As Malala Yousafzai said, we were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage. Everyday, we are being called upon to be brave and step out of our comfort zones. In big ways and small, women pushed and debated and lobbied and fought for their own rights and the rights of others.

Today, Google doodle featured women and girls who complete the sentence, ‘One day I will’. Let that one day be today. And today, my brave sisters, let us celebrate ourselves.