#Mompowerment: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges through Gender Equality Awareness. 

Marla Darwin, young mom and
Co-Founder, GrrrlGang Manila

Marla Darwin feels as passionately for parenting as she does for design and gender equality. She is keenly conscious of raising her daughter to question gender roles that pervade our Filipino family culture. And through Grrrl Gang Manila, she promotes equality within the home and encourages moms to shatter existing paradigms. 

“In 2017, a friend who is based abroad asked on social media if there is a Women’s March in Manila coinciding the millions marching all over the world. It got us asking the question if there was a mainstream feminist women’s group. We would not be here if not for groups like Gabriela and Likhaan, but they cater to labor issues and women who are deeply oppressed,” says Marla.

More than a year later, GrrrlGang Manila has done seven meetings where they hold safe spaces so women can talk about uncomfortable issues, like the reproductive health law. She adds, “I’m noticing in the Philippines, we never had sex education in schools. If they did, it was very basic. And they also came from households where parents are uncomfortable talking about sex. But then these are things that affect your body, destiny, future, and children.”

“I want to raise my kid as a feminist but feminism is just a way to look at the world. Feminism, ultimately, is tied to social justice. I would love to raise a child who feels empowered, who feels she has the power to change things, to question who made the rules, and can we change the rules, and how can we include more people in this advocacy.”

And Marla discovered she is not alone. She realized that there were a lot of moms in the existing group. There were enough of them to form their own spin-off group called Grrrl Gang Feminist Mom Village, a space where like-minded moms can talk about influencing equality and fairness in their households. “We should be able to ask questions like, if my husband and I work the whole day, how come the man tends to feel that he should relax when he gets home. But for the woman, she has to cook and sweep the kitchen. These are some of the problematic messaging and stories we heard growing up,” she says. 

Even if not all moms identify with feminism, we all need to put a few feminist views in the way we parent. We are responsible for raising boys who view girls as equals, and that would make the world a better place. Let’s have Grrrl Gang Manila lead the way.