Every year on March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Macau is home for many international women, whether born locally, from China, or from around the world.
This year International Women’s Day is celebrated under the #BeBoldForChange campaign. Macau Lifestyle is taking part in this global campaign and introducing you to some prominent Macau-based women. We sat down with each of them and asked some “bold” questions. The answers we got are open, real, and inspiring!
Women’s empowerment is a priority for this dedicated diplomat who is Macau’s first female consul general of the Philippines. Sitting down with Lilybeth R. Deapera in a special interview, she emphasizes the importance of women in society and makes raising awareness of this in Macau her goal as a public servant.
She explains that by promoting programs with various activities that tackle issues related to health and wellness for women, we encourage everyone to love themselves and pave their own path. Her campaigns on gender and development are well planned and focused on truly assisting the Filipino community in Macau.
This year we are celebrating IWD in Macau. What is your connection with Macau?
I arrived in 2015 and I am the first female consul general of the Philippines in Macau. There used to be more men in the foreign service but now it’s amazing to see how women have strived to achieve their own place in the service. I am proud to say that our labor attaché is a woman and the vice consul is a woman as well.
How does it feel to be a woman in Macau, what is your experience and what are the challenges?
In my assignment, I don’t feel any difference at all in regards to some other posts. I don’t think my gender matters in Macau and that’s something I am blessed with.
With your work and contribution, what inspires you?
As a public servant, I took an oath to serve my country, obey the laws and that is what moves me and continues to inspire me. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be an overseas Filipino worker and now I am on the other side of the table and that motivates me to be able to give back.
The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. While it is still 2017, what makes women different and so important at this time?
I think technological development has enabled us to be more aware and vigilant. Nowadays with the advent of internet and smartphones, we can access news easier and faster, thus women are more informed. It used to be that our society considered men as the breadwinners but these days men and women are on equal footing, at least in the Philippines from my perspective. Women are bolder now, they can now take risks because they have more knowledge.
What qualities of women do you think are valuable these days?
I try not to discriminate between men and women. We used to pamper men before because they are breadwinners but now they share the same roles as women. Like men, women are strong and capable of doing and getting things done.
This year IWD is celebrated under #BeBoldForChange campaign. What “bold” actions we can do today to help drive gender parity?
Education is really the key to everything. If we continuously inform the young women of today how to be respectful of other cultures and way of life or inclination, then I think it is something that can help us eliminate these differences.
What was your bold moment? How did you do it? What motivated you? What difference did it make? How can others learn from this?
We are six girls in the family and my father never underscored or emphasized that you are a woman and you cannot do a certain thing or action. He encouraged us to aspire more in life. It’s not exactly a bold moment but because of this belief, I am able to overcome the challenges that I encountered in my life.
In your daily life, how do you balance all of the woman’s roles (daughter, sister, mother, co-worker…)?
My priority is my family. I know how important work is and my role as a diplomat and I recognize the roles of motherhood as with everyone around me. We try to help each other. We handle work assignments but we consider our families important and that is how I try to balance my role as a leader and everything else in my life.
What is the message you’d like to share with all the women out there?
First of all, love yourself because then you know what is good for you and the decision you make is the one you truly want. However, you have to own up to that decision. If you fail you cannot blame anyone, you own up to your decision. I think that’s the best message I can share with you.
To read more #BeBoldForChange inspiring interviews follow the hashtag #BeBoldForChange.
Philippine Consulate General Macau SAR www.macaupcg.dfa.gov.ph