Briones shares journey as empowered woman

Education Secretary Leonor Briones recognizes women as rulers, warriors, healers, princesses and leaders, having equal status with men even before foreign conquerors came to the Philippines. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones shared her educational experiences that helped her be empowered during the Asia Women’s Forum 2022 last Thursday.

“I was fortunate I grew up in a family where there were no distinctions between genders. The driving ambition was to send all of us to school,” Secretary Briones shared at the virtual event, hosted by the Asia CEO Forum.

Awarded as Lifetime Contributor for the Asia CEO Awards last year, Briones was among the 13 outstanding women across the world, who were invited to deliver an inspiring speech that tackled the stories behind their success as a woman.

Briones was born during World War 2 in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, and she credited the efforts of her family, especially her parents, who were teachers and who prioritized learning by teaching the children in their house and keeping them safe from the dangers of war.

“My parents were teachers, and what my mother did to distract the children from the noise and the horror of war was to gather them in our house at the bottom of a gorge and teach them how to read and write,” Briones narrated.

Inspired by her family, Briones excelled in pursuing her education. After high school, she finished magna cum laude from Silliman University while working as a bookkeeper in two bookstores. Then, she obtained her Master’s in Public Administration at the University of the Philippines and postgraduate diploma at Leeds University in England and Harvard University in the United States.

Thus, Briones challenged the traditional role of women in society.

“What I consider my contribution is my efforts and help in bringing back, resuscitating, encouraging and inspiring women. We are equal with men and with the freedom to choose what we want to be,” Briones concluded.