National Towns Week, held in the last week of October, is celebrated by The TOWNS Foundation to honor the outstanding women who serve the Philippines in a variety of capacities. This year, it will be observed from October 23 to 29. The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service — or ‘TOWNS’ — the award is given every three years to recognize the accomplishments of women in all disciplines, particularly those who have aided the country’s potential and progress. To select the best individuals, the foundation accepts nominations and performs a year-long search that covers the entire country and, in some instances, the whole world.
History of National Towns Week
The TOWNS Foundation was established in the late 1990s to support deserving women across the Philippines as they transformed the future of their nation. The foundation has impacted the winners’ lives, furthering their agendas and ideas for a better and stronger Philippines.
Such honor and respect for women’s achievements are not new to the Philippines. The country has held a notion of gender equality even before its colonial days. Some historians point to evidence that maternal lineage had as much as, if not more, importance as paternal lineage. Women were entitled to property, could engage in trade, and even become village chiefs without a male heir even in those ages. There were even female high priestesses and astrologers. One of the most powerful rulers in Filipino history, Dayang Kalangitan (1515 B.C. to 1450 B.C.), was a female Buddhist ruler co-regent with her husband, Rajah Lontok.
Colonialism transformed these beliefs into the famed social structure of the time, in which women were viewed as weak and inferior to men. The U.S. took over The Philippines and implemented new educational institutions. They made education accessible to all Filipino women, regardless of gender, allowing more women to pursue careers and enter the workforce.
The present-day Filipino woman has a more significant role in their families and society. Their worth is now well-established, and their contributions are widely acknowledged. The only thing left was to celebrate their accomplishments, which National Towns Week does, every three years.
National Towns Week timeline
Women in the Philippines can now vote legally — making them one of the first Asian countries to legalize women's suffrage.
The foundation, since its inception, has acknowledged and cited more than 150 exceptional Filipino women.
Corazon Aquino takes office, ending the previous ruler's 21-year authoritarian rule.
The TOWNS foundation resumes searching for their latest batch of awardees virtually after their previous National Towns Week in 2019.
National Towns Week FAQs
Is there gender equality in the Philippines?
2020’s Global Gender Gap Report showed the Philippines closed 78% of its gender gap. The percentage has seen a slight downturn, but the country remains in the top spot for closing the gender gap, higher than other Asian countries.
What is the central role of women in nation-building?
Contributions by women benefit the economy and make for a more peaceful, equitable, and stable country.
Are women in the Philippines empowered?
Women in the Philippines are said to enjoy increased gender equality. The Philippines government even adopted the Magna Carta of Women (M.C.W.) in 2009 to increase Filipino women’s empowerment.
National Towns Week Activities
Celebrate Filipino women's achievements
Do you have a Philippine-born friend or family member? How about demonstrating to them that their efforts and contributions are valued? Please tell everyone you know about this day so that more Filipino women can receive the accolades they deserve.
Learn about past TOWNS awardees
Check out previous National Towns Week winners and what they've accomplished since winning the award. Learn more about how they've achieved their successes.
Do your part to support women
Not just women from the Philippines, but every woman is deserving of some support as she navigates her way through this gender-imbalanced world. Lend a hand, an ear, and a little bit of your time to support women's causes and other rights issues to support every female around you.
5 Cool Facts About Gender And TOWNS
Towns awardees are automatic members
Every woman getting a TOWNS award is a member of the TOWNS Foundation and is supposed to continue her work towards supporting the Philippines.
The lowest rate of gender disparity
The Global Gender Gap Index 2017 puts the Philippines 10th out of 145 countries, higher than any other Asia-Pacific country.
Women in business
According to various surveys, almost one-third of businesses across the Philippines are owned and operated by women.
Women in politics
They've had two female presidents, and in February 2021, they had 28% of parliamentary seats filled by women.
Positive trends in upper-level management
The same February 2021 statistic also revealed women hold almost 50.5% of managerial positions in the Philippines.
Why We Love National Towns Week
Women get some much-deserved validation
National Towns Week allows the rest of the world to acknowledge Filipino women's values, hard work, and talent. It even inspires them to devote more time and effort to their causes and fields.
Celebration for women, by women
A group of women who wanted to help other women succeed in their respective industries founded the TOWNS Foundation. A sisterhood of supportive women is the best method we can think of to create a gender-neutral environment.
Younger generations get their role models
Past awardees become role models for young Filipino women and girls who wish to pursue similar fields and nation-building. Research some Filipino awardees today and see how you can inspire others with your knowledge.
National Towns Week dates