Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Why UAE's Filipina professionals need to look the part

Dubai-based Filipino lifestyle magazine Illustrado aims to hep Filipinas better present themselves in the workplace, and will be holding a special event in Dubai to do so.

ABU DHABI // Highly educated Filipina professionals need to talk and dress the part to succeed.

"Many excel in engineering, advertising, design, fashion and medicine but we need to be more consistent in the way they package themselves - how we dress up, talk and promote ourselves," said Lalaine Chu-Benitez, publisher and editor of the Dubai-based Filipino lifestyle magazine Illustrado.

She was making her plea for self-promotion ahead of International Women's Day today.

"Back home, being simple and inconspicuous is considered a virtue," she said. "Here, we all have to compete with other more assertive cultures, not only in the way we perform at the workplace but how we present ourselves."

The magazine is hosting a Day of Sisterhood, a women-only event with talks about relationships, health, wellness and personal finance, plus workshops on style and image, grooming, make-up and self defence. It takes place on April 12 in Dubai.

"Filipinas can sit back and relax while talking about issues and learning different things," Ms Chu-Benitez said. "It's important to celebrate this yearly as a day of bonding and learning ┐for Filipinas - a venue to share their issues and solutions freely without being judged."

Jhasmine Castillo-Cipriano, a Dubai resident who attended last year's event, described the experience as "liberating".

"It enlightened women about the situation in the UAE," she said.

The event was a spin-off from the Women of Substance awards that honour Filipinas in the Middle East. Since 2008, the event has honoured 36 Filipinas, including community leaders, volunteers, entrepreneurs, social activists, artists, mothers and philanthropists.

This year, organisers decided on a hiatus from their annual Women of Substance event to reformat it.

"Since we launched it almost six years ago, we've been consistent in growing our advocacy, tackling relevant Filipina issues each year - from stereotyping, to reproductive health, to physical, emotional and financial well-being," Ms Chu-Benitez said.

"The event itself has evolved into something prestigious that the local community is proud of and is looking forward to annually."

Marietta Morada, a data-management manager who has lived in the Emirates for 11 years, won an award last year. She said many women faced problems because of a lack of information, which mean't they were unable to adjust well.

"We have to educate women on enhancing their skills and know-how so they can be economically active and build their self-confidence," she said.

Ms Chu-Benitez said she was proud of her compatriots' resilience and patience "reinforced by the challenges we go through in our life, plus a good nature and a ready smile".

She said: "We are not only hardworking and driven individuals but are also blessed with an immense capacity to nurture.

"Successful women in our community are respected and valued by colleagues and friends for being strong, and sweet at the same time."

rruiz@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 A still from the 27-second black-and-white video that was taken using a satellite owned and operated by Skybox Imaging.

Burj Khalifa stars in HD video from space

A 27-second black and white video of a plane flying over Dubai's skyscrapers captures the imagination of some.

 Falconry is an activity where they demonstrate how falcons catch prey while flying at a speed of almost 360 kilometres per hour. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National

In pictures: Adventure in the desert at Abu Dhabi's Qasr Al Sarab

Mohammad Ashfaq, an adventure guide at the Qasr Al Sarab resort, Abu Dhabi, showcases a day in his working life.

 JP Duminy played a cameo knock of 52 not out from 35 balls to tip the game in Delhi Daredevils' favour. Pawan Singh / The National

Kolkata Knight Riders lose way as Duminy sizzles for Delhi Daredevils

JP Duminy keeps his head as cameo at the death helps swing it in Delhi's favour in Dubai after captain Karthik plays the anchor role.

 A projectionist takes a break in the projection room at Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul, but women and children rarely take part. All photos by Photo by Jonathan Saruk / Reportage by Getty Images

Afghan cinema: Forbidden Reel

The lights go down and the projector whirls into action as Sher Mohammed, 35, begins his routine, bouncing back and forth between two projectors, winding reels, and adjusting the carbon arc lamps inside the projectors.

 The mother removes the noose with the help of her husband from around the neck of Balal.

In pictures: Mother forgives her son’s killer as he awaited his execution

An Iranian mother spared the life of her son’s convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck.

Tyrese reunited with Fazza

Tyrese today posted on his social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) his pleasure at being reunited with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National