We all want a happy and fulfilling life. But the question is how do we find it? That joyful state of ikigai, or the intersection of doing what you love, what you’re good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs.
As a girl, there’s the added pressure of people telling you what you can and cannot be. If you’re dealing with self-doubt, you’ll need an assuring voice to remind you that you will find your way—in this case, through the stories of successful women who have gone through the same struggles you’re facing.
On this note, we welcome National Women’s Month with heartfelt “slam book” conversations with our #FutureOfYoungPinays ambassadors.
Here’s hoping you find the inspiration and advice you need to succeed in your own path.
Chuks Arias thought gender violence was something that only happened to other women. Until she experienced sexual harassment herself by a co-worker in 2014.
The ordeal was a turning point for Chuks. What started out as a desire to protect her two sisters from gender violence grew into an advocacy for women empowerment.
Shortly after the incident, Chuks wrote an article for Cosmopolitan Philippines entitled, “Why You Must Stand Up To Sexual Harassment” for the magazine’s August 2015 issue. She also started a blog called PinayWrites.com, where she writes about Filipino women’s issues. The blog was also her way to combine her love of writing and faith that social media can spark positive change.
Today, Chuks leads projects that promote a gender-sensitive and gender-responsive culture. Moreover, she gives talks on issues like gender sensitivity, violence against women, feminism, and youth sexuality—while taking her MA in Women and Development Studies. You go, girl!
Find out what inspires Chuks to do what she does. Along the way, you’ll also pick up some useful advice on pursuing your passion and purpose.
Favorite subject in school and why
Social science/sociology/social studies. Teachers of those subjects are fun! I still talk to my high school and college socio profs!
Seriously, people make me curious. I like studying their motivations as individuals and as groups, how and why they do what they do, and how they function.
School and course in college
Why did you choose your course?
I wanted to understand how the government works. Very practical!
How did your course help you become the person you are today?
It made me appreciate how much people need each other. You cannot really function just on your own. You need your community, your government, [and] your leaders. And you need them strong and competent.
What was your biggest insecurity as a student? How did you overcome it?
I couldn’t maintain my grade for my first course (BS Business Economics) so I shifted out. I took [Business Econ] because of the big paycheck I thought I’d earn, not because I wanted to learn it.
So after that, my choices to this day are based on what interests me. Success comes from your passion in what you’re doing. You will not go the distance for something that bores you.
What achievement are you most proud of during your school life?
Dorm life. While my parents paid for my tuition and sent me allowance, taking care of everything I needed was challenging. I had to plan ahead, decide for myself, and take care of the consequences.
Do I have enough money for readings and extra meals? Should I go to that party? How do I come home after a group project meeting? Wala pang mga apps noon! It made adulting and full independence easier, though.
What’s the most important thing you learned in your student life?
What matters most is what you do after you stumble. Yes, you failed your exam/subject/course. Now what?
Favorite film/ book/ song
Film – Juno
Book – Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? by Lualhati Bautista
Both have strong female leads who went through problems that were especially hard because they’re women. Pero funny pa rin sila and they pushed through!
Song – Nice to Know You by Incubus
It’s about how [liberating] it is to see the bigger picture. To me, it’s also about understanding your place in a situation and knowing who you are.
“She who sees from up high smiles and surely sings. Perspective pries your once weighty eyes and it gives you wings.”
Who’s your life peg? Why?
Malala Yousafzai. She recognized that the attempt on her life was beyond her. It was about women’s rights and education. It was not enough that she survived [the incident]. She made it her life’s mission to empower others.
What are you passionate about?
Talking to the youth. Understanding their issues and helping them in any way. Being the person I needed when I was younger.
What’s your advice on finding and pursuing one’s passion and purpose?
1) Answer 2 questions:
– What do you google/wikipedia/youtube about all night?
– If you can pay others to allow you to do one thing, what is that?
2) Pursue answers to #1.
What’s the hardest thing about being a girl?
Breaking through the limitations people set for you because you’re a girl
What’s the best thing about being a girl?
Breaking through the limitations people set for you because you’re a girl! 🙂
In your own words, what’s gender equality?
Women and men feeling safe and secure in their community and environment
What is something that makes you proud to be a woman this National Women’s Month?
We’re getting together online and offline to help each other. Whether it’s a positive compliment on social media or giving each other advice on career, love, [or] school, women are helping women!
There’s a Swedish proverb about the magic that happens when we openly talk about our troubles and achievements: “Shared joy is double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”
When we see the relatable struggles that other women face, our own obstacles seem less insurmountable. And when we hear about people who succeed, it sparks a confidence in us to work toward our own goals. Moreover, these success stories point us back to ourselves—with an encouraging inner voice that asks, “What are my strengths? What more can I achieve? And what achievements have I already made that are worth celebrating?”
Many, for sure.
The National Women’s Month Celebration every March is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD). Since 2017, the National Women’s Month in the Philippines has been highlighting the empowerment of women as contributors to and recipients of development.
Find more stories that will inspire you to be the best that you can be.