Remembering Women’s Contribution To Society Does Not End In March

Women are vital partners for development, important cogs of the wheel of change, and great energizers for progress that need constant affirmation of their contributions to society.

by Elpidio R. Estioko

Last month, we celebrated Women’s History Month and honored their contributions to society but remembering and celebrating their achievement and role in social development does not end after a month-long celebration.

Women are vital partners for development, important cogs of the wheel of change, and great energizers for progress that need constant affirmation of their contributions to society.

In fact, once empowered, they deliver! They can equal or even surpass men in this male-dominated society.

Acting National Job Corps Center Director Erin McGee noted women’s exemplary performance in society:

“Women’s participation in the labor force has increased exponentially since 1950.  But while progress has been made in women’s earnings and opportunities, there had been limited advancement for women seeking employment in male-dominated skilled trades and women on average still earn 83 cents for every dollar man earns in the same position.”

In her regular message from the US Department of Labor, Office of Job Corps tilted “Touchpoint,” she added:

“We at Job Corps know it is imperative that we empower young women to follow their dreams and find a career they’re passionate about – regardless of industry or field. Industries such as construction, maintenance transportation, protective services, and fishing a forestry continue to witness a significant underrepresentation of women, with women making up less than 25% of the workforce.”

This is very significant considering that what Job Corps is doing in encouraging its female student population to explore opportunities in traditionally male-dominated industries, including nontraditional occupations, is a commitment to bridging the gap between men and women in the job market.

In Hawaii, we have distinguished women who contributed much to society, past and present.

Foremost of Hawaii’s women of distinction, according to Matthew Dekneef in his article 15 Extraordinary Hawaiʻi Women Who Inspire Us All (Hawaii Magazine) was ‘lolani Luahine.

“Regarded as the 20th century’s foremost authority and representative of the ancient art of hula, ʻIolani Luahine was a world-famous dancer with an unmatched mastery of this nearly lost cultural tradition. The “high priestess of hula,” as she’s often deemed, is remembered for not just her magnetic presence and artistry as a dancer, but instruction and revival of hula kahiko, the traditional oral heritage of hula passed down for generations,” Dekneef wrote.

Dekneef further wrote:

“After opening her own Honolulu hālau (hula school) in 1947, Luahine trained over 300 students in the ancient rituals, chants, authentic instrumentation, and proper production of appropriate costumes for hula that was passed down to her—all this during a time when Hollywood was reducing the sacred dance into something merely for entertainment. In 1969, Luahine hosted a pivotal meeting, at the onset of the Hawaiian Renaissance, with the Islands’ most knowledgeable kumu hula (hula teachers) and dancers in Nānākuli, Oʻahu to demonstrate the need for organizations committed to preserving and perpetuating Hawaiian culture as it pertained to hula. In doing so, she reignited an awareness of the dance’s complexities and historical importance for the Hawaiian people.”

Another distinguished woman was Vera Zambonelly, PhD, founder and executive director of Hawaii Women in Filmmaking.

Zambonelly is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, educator, and researcher who founded Hawaii Women in Filmmaking to promote gender equity in the film industry and start an initiative called Wāhine in Film Lab and Making Media That Matters.

Let us not forget to remember women’s power and acknowledge their contributions to society, every now and then!

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. He just published his book Unlocking the chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream which is now available with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing. For feedbacks, comments… please email author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.

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