“We are not just women”: A lady guard’s story of empowerment

"Hindi tayo basta babae lang."

Type: Story

 As soon as the doors of the elevator fling wide, the staff receives a warm smile and hello from Juvy, one of the security guards at Save the Children Philippines.

Juvy Castillo, 47, has been a security guard at the Save the Children office in Quezon City since 2016.

“Malaki po yung naitutulong ng Save the Children sa akin bilang isang babae dahil binigyan nila ako ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng trabaho,” said Juvy.

The Philippine Commission on Women said that the country paced its way in lessening the gender gap as it placed 16th internationally in the 2023 Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum. However, in a workforce dominated by men, female security guards still have to make the double effort of men just to prove themselves.

“Bakit naging guard ka? Dapat sa lalaki lang yan na trabaho. Dapat sa ganyang trabaho, may lakas at tapang. Dapat sa bahay ka na lang mag-alaga ng mga anak mo. Ito ‘yung mga sabi-sabi sakin over the years,” said Juvy.

Despite the stereotypes and discrimination, what keeps her going are her three children.

“Kailangang sumikap para matupad ko ‘yung mga pangarap hindi lang para sa sarili ko kundi para sa mga anak ko,” said Juvy.

Just last year, her husband passed away from illness so she was forced to work doubly hard just to send her children to school.

“Minsan kailangan ko rin kasing umabsent para mag-alaga ng mga bata. Kapag ganun, apektado ang trabaho at sweldo ko,” said Juvy.

For years, security guards have felt neglected, most of them getting only a bit more than the minimum wage even as they risk life and limb to protect offices and homes.

“Mahirap kasi minsan sa ganitong trabaho may mga physical demands tulad pag kinakailangan tumugon sa mga insidente maari po kasi kaming makaranas ng stress at takot dahil sa potential na panganib,” said Juvy.

Save the Children Philippines not only advocates for children’s rights but for the rights of women especially in the workplace.

“Sa Save the Children, nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataon ipakita ang kakayanan ko bilang isang babaeng gwardya. Sa paraang ito naihahayag ko na may boses ako at karapatan na mabigyan ng magandang trabaho na may dignidad,” said Juvy.

“Tayong mga kababaihan, hindi tayo basta babae lang. Tayong mga kababaihan ay matapang, may determinasyon at kakayahan para harapin ang mga hamon ng buhay, magdala ng pagbabago sa ating pamilya, trabaho at sa ating nasasakupan. Tayo ay bantayog ng kabutihan at kagandahan,” she said.

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About Save the Children Philippines

Save the Children Philippines has been working hard every day to give Filipino children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for and with children to positively transform their lives and the future we share.

DSWD License No.: DSWD-SB-L-00008-2024
Coverage: Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-MIMAROPA, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, CARAGA, CAR, and NCR
Period: February 16, 2024 – February 17, 2027

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