NEW YORK – In commemoration of International Women’s Month, three women who defied stereotypes and overcame obstacles were named as this year’s Distinguished Filipino Women hosted by the Philippine Consulate General in New York at the Philippine Center on March 12, 2018.
An engineer, Virginia Policarpio, IBM Senior Technical Staff Member; Elda Rotor, Publisher and Vice President at Penguin Classics; and Hazel Sanchez, Correspondent at CBS News were congratulated by Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega for the honor they bring to the Filipino community in their respective fields. She said that women’s work is relentless, and encouraged everyone present to support advocacies that assist women, especially the underserved.
“We can only truly rest on our laurels when women especially the underrepresented ones are allowed to flourish and be active members of the society,” Dizon-de Vega said.
She capped her remarks with a quote from US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
Sharing details of her Filipino upbringing, Virginia Policarpio attributed her success to the value of education her parents inculcated in her and her siblings since they moved from the Philippines to the US. She is emulating their example by also teaching her children to work hard in school, and encouraging them to pursue whatever their interests may be.
In her personal narrative, Hazel Sanchez shared the virtue of resilience, which she has learned from her childhood. Growing up in a predominantly Caucasian town in the Midwest, she faced discrimination from her peers. But even at an early age, she was determined to work hard for her dream to become a broadcaster. Her focus on her goals has paid off as she is now one of the most recognizable faces in the primetime news in New York.
As a minority woman in publishing, Elda Rotor emphasized the power of women solidarity and inclusiveness in the workplace and society. Her role in Penguin Classics allowed for the best of Philippine literature to be widely available in America, namely, Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, the poems of Jose Garcia Villa, and the first-ever US anthology of Philippine National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s works.
Joanne Choi, Assistant Director of Constituencies for Asian American Affairs at the Office of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo presented the Consul General with a letter from the Governor in honor of the event recognizing the distinguished Filipino and Filipino-American empowered women achievers and two Proclamations for the community’s celebrations of the International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.
Former recipients of the Distinguished Filipino Women Awards Venessa Manzano and Nicole Ponseca presented the Consul General with a plaque of recognition for her dedication to the country, untiring work to advance the interests of the Filipino people, and for setting an honorable example to all women.