In YouTube’s Breaking Barriers Online and Beyond event, women content creators from several walks of life shared their inspiring stories on rising above challenges and how YouTube has helped them make a difference.
Hosted by Miss Trans Global 2020, actress, writer, and content creator Mela Habijan, the intimate gathering delved into the different stories of YouTube creators Lyqa Maravilla, Candy Pangilinan, Chezka Carandang, Jozelle Tech, as well as Habijan and Google Philippines Country Director Bernadette Nacario themselves.
Helping an entire society break barriers and achieve their full potential
Lyqa Maravilla was inspired to start creating educational content in 2015 by her own grandmother, who only managed to attain a Grade 3 education, as well as a group of women who could not pass the Civil Service Exam because they were also juggling their responsibilities as homemakers and mothers.
Eventually, more people found her content and were able to apply her lessons to other similar exams, and the momentum she gained from this support gave her the confidence to create more content on study hacks, workplace tips, and many more videos that simply were able to help Filipinos, especially those who were disadvantaged.
Not only were the barriers in many Filipinos’ ways broken, but more importantly, heavily disadvantaged women were now gaining an edge. “We’re able to help so many people get jobs—actually, our current average is three to five people, mostly women, reporting per day that they land jobs and get promoted,” said Maravilla.
In the same vein as Maravilla’s highly helpful educational content, commercial pilot Chezka Carandang’s YouTube content goes a long way in opening an entirely new horizon of possibilities for women.
Starting her own YouTube channel during the pandemic, Carandang—who had always wanted to be a pilot but had to figure out how to do it herself—simply wanted to share the process and her own story of how she managed to soar to the skies.
“That’s why I started my YouTube channel. Before, I was the one who had a hard time learning and becoming a pilot, now, I want to be the one aspiring pilots turn to to learn how to become a pilot,” said Carandang.
“It all started with one video on how to become a pilot, and after that, I was able to build a community. I get so many comments saying ‘Chezka, I became a pilot because of you. I didn’t know it was possible to become a pilot.’”
YouTube as a way to inspire
Beyond education, because of the multitude of diverse voices on the platform, for many people YouTube is also a source of inspiration.
Being differently abled has certainly not stopped Tech from doing what she does best, which is helping businesses reach their full potential. Her YouTube content generally focuses on business, branding, and marketing tips and advice.
“These physical challenges are a huge barrier in living a full life. What’s harder is that I’m part of two marginalized groups–I’m a woman bound to a wheelchair. As a child, I had so many dreams, but people would always tell me no, don’t be ambitious. But I am ambitious, and I couldn’t accept that this was going to be my life. I couldn’t walk, so that’s why I decided to run a business,” said Tech defiantly.
Meanwhile, comedienne and actress Candy Pangilinan, whose YouTube channel features her daily life raising her son Quentin, who has special needs, found herself becoming an inspiration to fellow mothers in similar situations.
“I never imagined people would come to me wherever I am, telling me, ‘Ms. Candy, thank you so much for what you do. I learn from your vlog and follow what you do on your content,’” said Pangilinan.
“The support is overwhelming. People asked me what I do with Quentin, so I asked him if we can show the internet our regular lives. Eventually, it grew. Now people are asking, people are coming to me. Honestly, my burden 19 years ago has become my blessing today. YouTube really helped me a lot in developing my son.”
As for Habijan herself, who educates people on all things transgender on her YouTube channel, credits the platform for the full realization of her hosting dreams, as she announced she will be hosting shows on YouTube including Rainbow Bench, a YouTube-first talk show focused on LGBTQIA+ stories and allyship.
“It’s my dream to be like Oprah,” said Habijan. “There are so many possibilities being realized by YouTube. I cannot fathom the fact that we’ve really neared this age where everyone can. And we all can, right now.”
Sharing her very own breaking barriers story, Google Philippines Country Director Bernadette Nacario said, “I’ve been in tech for over 30 years now and my journey in the industry is not easy! Back in the early days of tech, there was a time when I was the only woman in the boardroom full of men. It was daunting at first but I didn’t let this hold me back! I stood my ground and believed in myself. I showed them that women can and women will! Women’s ability to lead not just with data but with empathy makes us effective leaders.”