x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Women of substance to be honoured at awards event

Annual Women of Substance event is held to celebrate female empowerment.

DUBAI // Filipinas in the region will be honoured next month at an annual gathering to celebrate female empowerment.

"The Filipina's strong image as a strong woman in whatever area she occupies cannot be denied and is appreciated," said Lalaine Chu-Benitez, the editor of Illustrado, a Filipino lifestyle magazine based in Dubai that is organising the awards.

Since 2008, the Women of Substance awards have honoured 29 Filipinas in the Middle East, including community leaders, volunteers, entrepreneurs, social activists, artists, mothers and philanthropists.

"By recognising these great models, who are special in their own right, I believe we have provided inspiration to the community," said Ms Chu-Benitez.

"We've promoted the idea that achievement and being able to contribute something to the world can be done by anybody.

"It is not based only on financial or corporate triumph, or even one's popularity in the community."

More than 30 Filipinas have been nominated this year.

"There are a lot of good strong women in our community and that definitely reflects in the quality of the nominations," said Ms Chu-Benitez.

"However, we cannot just honour somebody on the basis of being a good or prominent individual."

"Within our nominees we have women who have been able to quietly elevate themselves and their families from very humble beginnings, through sheer hard work and determination," said Ms Chu-Benitez said.

Nominations closed on January 15. The judges will be looking for Filipinas with exemplary character and integrity, who are role models for the community.

"I work hard to inculcate in my Emirati students professional ethics, commitment and responsibility," said Susan de Guzman, a lecturer at Sharjah Women's College and one of the seven winners last year.

"Some day, when I leave the college, I hope that they, the future owners of companies, will treat my compatriots well and with respect."

The Women of Substance event will be held on March 30 in Dubai, and a Day of Sisterhood on April 6, which will include discussions of topics of special interest to women.

rruiz@thenational.ae