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St. Scholastica’s College-Manila
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Putting women on the pedestal

By ANGELO G. GARCIA

For the first time, the contributions of women in media and communication are being recognized. St. Scholastica’s College-Manila paid tribute to the outstanding contributions of women and women-centered media programs with its first Hildegard Awards for women in media and communication.

Conceptualized and organized by the Mass Communication Department faculty and students, the Hildegard Awards is perhaps the first in the country to honor outstanding women professionals and agents of change in media and communication. The award is expected to encourage media practitioners who used the power of media to further their advocates.

"We wanted to celebrate women’s achievements in media because as we look at history, women are usually absent, particularly in media. We wanted to honor women’s contribution to media," says Mass Communication Department head Johnathan Libarios Rondina.

"If we create an environment where women are empowered in the media, we actually create a good environment for our students. That is one of the original intentions of the awards," he adds.

The first Hildegard awardees include feminist radio writer, Dr. Genoveva Edroza-Matute, Batibot executive producer Prof. Felicisima "Feny" de los Angeles-Bautista; Development Communication pioneer Dr. Nora Quebral and women-centered netwoek, QTV Channel 11.

WOMEN ON TOP

The faculty of the Mass Communication Department looked at the media and communication industry to find the most deserving awardees. From a long list of familiar names and institution, they chose this year’s awardees.

One of the first recipients of the Hildegard award is QTV channel 11 because of its women-oriented programming. It produces shows that celebrate the joys of womanhood and emphatize with women’s needs and concerns.

The network’s vision and commitment in bringing women better entertainment television has to offer is truly recognizable. It offers entertainment that provokes thought and discussion, appealing to every woman’s interest which empowers them in return.

Among QTV’s women-based programs are Moms, which tackles different issues that affects mothers all over the country; and Women’s Desk, which delves into issues affecting the rights of women.

"QTV does not want to stop tackling women’s issue. We do not want to stop from serving women’s concern and needs," says QTV news anchor and host Rhea Santos.

"Now our worked are realized and our prayers are answered. Sa parangal pong ito na umasa po kayo na patuloy naming pagiibayuhin and pagbigay ng serbisyong totoo sa mga kababaihan," she adds.

On the other hand, Feny Bautista’s desire to develop a children’s program that is tailor-made to the Filipino youth revolutionized local children programming. She was the brains behind the iconic children show Batibot.

"I hoped that this would also lead us to transform the Filipino broadcasting industry into a child friendly media environment," she says.

Bautista advocates the protection of each Filipino child’s right to education and quality media. From the time Batibot was aired she hoped for a better television programming thereafter. Unfortunately, this did not turn out as desired.

"Our children are the most active consumers of media products actually no longer have access to truly child friendly TV programs."

"We have hit rock-bottom as far as quality in children programming is concerned. In the last five years we have seen the slow and quiet death of Filipino children TV, like the quiet death that malnutrition causes Filipino children that has gone unnoticed," she stresses.

Another outstanding woman is Dr. Nora Quebral, known as the Mother of Development Communication. Credited for her body of work which were published and recognized both locally and internationally, Dr. Quebral wants to empower the marginalized sectors of society by providing communication interventions in terms of agricultural, health and environmental issues. She believed that development communication should promote intercultural understanding to unite diverse culturally people.

Dr Quebral was the Chairperson of the University of the Philippines Los Baños from 1966 to 1985. She helped shape the curriculum of the college by including 24 units of technical electives that equipped development communication professionals with not just the how of development but also the "what" to communicate.

She currently serves as a consultant and an expert in development communication, and founded the Nora C. Quebral Development Communication Centre, Inc., which undertakes a wide variety of development communication projects in health communication,, environmental communication and agricultural communication.

Last but not the least is the legendary Genoveva "Lola Bebang" Matute. She was honored for her historical role as one of the most successful women writers for radio and for using the radio soap opera to tackle women issues.

Together with fellow women writers Lina Flor and Liwayway Arceo, Matute’s work portrayed women as nonconformists in her radio dramas, "Aklat ng Pag-ibig" in the 1950s and "Ang Iyong Lingkod," Gloria Romero, which aired from 1959 to 1960.

"Sa akin, hindi bida ‘yung babaeng inaapi tapos iyak ng iyak. Ang aming mga karakter lumalaban, hindi iyak ng iyak. Ang bida para sa akin, lumalaban," she says.

Now 92, Lola Bebang wants to be remembered as a woman who struggled and succeeded in creating space for women in the radio industry.

The four awardees received a Hildegard trophy designed by the late feminist Elsie "Inday" Cadapan and recast by Frederic Caedo.

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