The following is the welcome address given by Hon. Thelma Boac (US FWN100™ 2007
Global FWN100™ 2013), Trustee at San Jose’s Berryessa Union School District, at FWN’s 2019 International Women’s Day event— DISRUPTing SAN FRANCISCO—held on Friday, March 8 in San Francisco.
We all have heard of the song “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy:
I am Woman Hear Me Roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back and pretend
Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again
Today, women and girls everywhere—all over the world are Roaring out loud—the time is NOW!
Time for equality, time for opportunity, respect and equal representation. This year’s International Women’s Day Theme—#Better the Balance, Better the World. Tomorrow will be shaped by how we empower women and girls, (and men) today. Today’s celebration of International Women’s Day is shaking the pillars of patriarchy!
International Women’s Day originated more than 100 years ago. The United Nations officially adopted International Women’s Day in 1975. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. Why? Because we notice its absence in all sectors of society and celebrate its presence. This is a nod to the growing global push for professional, and social equity—the goal is to encourage gender balance in board rooms, in the media, and in wealth as a way for economies and communities to thrive.
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186. It could still take another 100 years before the global equality gap disappears entirely. But we all have a part to play in this goal because the future is exciting. Collectively we can build a gender balanced world. The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights. We have come a long way, yet there is still more to be achieved.
The Filipina Women’s Network Leadership Book Series: Disrupt 1.0, Disrupt 2.0, Disrupt 3.0 written by women authors of influence are telling their stories and provoking important and necessary conversations. The women authors identify their strengths and struggles and their abilities and move towards a world of empowerment.
The purpose of the three FWN Leadership Series is to inspire, to motivate, and to nurture the leadership of not only Filipina women but also non-Filipina women worldwide. The goal of the leadership books is to teach leadership in a way that not only informs but also transforms. Transforms those that are already leaders but go beyond their capabilities. In other words, leave the comfort zone.
At one point in my life, I was so content with what I have achieved or what I thought I have achieved professionally, spiritually and socially, that it never occurred to me that there would be another step or level beyond. Not until I joined FWN and was recognized in 2007 in Washington D. C and was selected as one of the FWN 100 Influential Filipina Women in the U.S. That provided the impetus for my next journey.
While I was still fulfilling my leadership role as a high school principal, I began to think what I would need to do as I contemplate retirement. I had two choices: Should I retire completely or continue to be involved with education. The latter won out. Upon retirement, I was recruited to teach at San Jose State University and National Hispanic University as an adjunct professor. At this point, my thoughts ventured into the public sector. My concurrent affiliation and involvement with FWN fortified my desire to be more global in my thought process. I wanted to leave my footprints for the next generation.
My next journey began when I decided to run as a candidate for the Governing Board of Trustees for the Berryessa Union School District. That same year 2013, I was selected as one of FWN Global 100 Most Influential Women. These two events fueled me to continue my public service and, thus, expand my footprints.
My involvement with the Disrupt Leadership book series recounts the journey, the failures, the struggles, and some successes, and my strong desire to leave footprints behind with the hope that it will encourage and inspire women and girls to go beyond their capabilities and leave their comfort zone.
This month of March—is Women’s History Month—The Theme is “Discover Her Story”. So ladies and gentlemen, Read our Story, Get your copy of the FWN Disrupt Leadership Series and Discover “Her Story!” Thank you!