On September 17, 1937, women’s suffrage was legalized in the Philippines—447,725 women affirmed their aspiration to vote against the 33,307 nos. The Philippines would be one of the first Asian countries to grant this right to women and thus welcome them to the workforce.
Eighty-six years have passed since then, and much more has changed across society when we speak of gender equality. There is much to appreciate in how far we’ve come, but as we’ll see with Thea’s story, there is still much we can do.
Thea’s career journey as a Filipino woman has been one filled with gratitude and hard work with a sprinkling of luck. Her story is not uncommon in many Filipino households. As the youngest of four siblings—”the bunso,” her childhood was made up of afternoons spent at home without the company of her siblings. While they were at school, she was left to satisfy her curiosities by herself.
At a young age, Thea had already felt this smoldering desire to learn and prove herself. So, on Thea’s relentless insistence and with the approval of her godmother, her parents had her (skip Pre-K and Kindergarten altogether and enrolled her straight into first grade). To most kids, this would have been intimidating. All your classmates would have been two or three years older than you. But this didn’t faze little Thea—she’d grown up with three older siblings after all. The real challenge for Thea would come when she finally stepped foot in the working world.
In 2012, at the young age of 18 years old, Thea graduated from college and was on her first OJT in the BPO industry. It was her first step into what would become a long and eventful career. She forged her own path forward, starting as an agent and developing her technical and leadership skills. Sufficient mastery over these areas in her field would eventually get her noticed by management. She would become a team lead in just a few years, owing to her impeccable work ethic and dedication.
As a young woman holding a leadership position in the BPO industry, Thea felt the weight of many eyes and expectations placed on her shoulder. Throughout her career, she often heard comments doubting her abilities due to her being a young woman. In an industry dominated by men and leaders with over two decades of experience, Thea has found herself on more than one occasion being questioned. But Thea remained undeterred by the naysayers and doubters; she pushed ahead and strengthened her resolve.
“Most women are afraid. They’ve been told that they can’t do it. They don’t believe in themselves. But you just have to do it. You just have to present. Do or do not; there is no try. The worst that could happen is you get rejected. It’s a win-win situation; you either learn from it or succeed.”
Guiding the Next Generation
At this point in her career, through some serendipitous design arranged by the universe, Thea would meet Courtney, a country leader in their current company. They shared common ground in their struggles throughout their careers as women. With more meetings and interactions, Courtney would gradually become a mentor and friend to her. C, as Thea warmly called her, would open Thea’s eyes to how much more capable she was than she gave herself credit for.
The next opportunity that would test Thea’s resolve would come from C. The role of an Operations Manager had opened up in the company. In their conversations and time working together, Courtney had seen that Thea had the technical skills, leadership acumen, and glowing passion needed to excel in the role. And Thea, emboldened and inspired by the endorsement of her mentor, took the opportunity given to her.
“She [C] was the one who first trusted me for the position, knowing that there were other more tenured applicants. I think she saw something in me.“
She would go on to make C proud with the work that she did in her role as an Operations Manager.
Eventually, Courtney moved to iSupport Worldwide. She transferred as President and invited Thea in as a Client Services Manager. Initially hesitant and apprehensive, Thea felt that the work was at the opposite end of her experience and expertise in operations. Her new role as a Client Services Manager meant she needed to master communication and building business relationships. But she trusted C’s judgment and knew that her mentor would be there to guide her.
Today, Thea leads a team filled with women and many members of the LGBTQIA. She hopes to inspire more women to be in leadership roles as Courtney did for her. She loves being the breadwinner for her retired parents, as all her siblings now have their own families. She enjoys the precious time she gets to spend with her mother and father.
Thea’s story is now what is possible for women in the Philippines. A struggle endured and overcome by brave women nearly a century ago has given many women today more paths and new options to pursue in life. Thea’s story and her mentee-mentor relationship with C remind us that the fight for equality, the rights, and the recognition of our fellow women, continues. And that it is the duty of every woman to do their part in paving better paths for the next generation.
Diversity and Equality at iSupport Worldwide
At iSupport Worldwide, we strongly believe in gender equality. We strive to create an inclusive workplace culture where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential. We are committed to offering equal opportunities to all individuals, regardless of gender or background, and we encourage everyone to hone their skills, expand their knowledge, and explore their interests.
Our company caters to a diverse range of industries and verticals, including logistics, digital marketing, IT, human resources, recruitment, sales, and customer service. Our comprehensive training and development programs empower our employees to grow and succeed in their careers while promoting a culture of diversity, respect, and inclusivity.
iSupport Worldwide, a premier offshoring company in the Philippines, is celebrating International Women’s Month by sharing the achievements of women in the company, from empowered leaders to up-and-coming talent. For this month, women will share their experiences and success stories, highlighting their contributions to the industry.
By showcasing the women of iSupport, we hope to inspire and empower women everywhere to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals while supporting diversity and equality in all its forms.