TWO Filipinas are among those featured in Time Magazine’s “100 Women of the Year” project in celebration of March as Women’s History Month and to highlight a century of influential women often overlooked by history.
Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, both of whom were previously named Woman of the Year by the magazine, were included in the esteemed list of women from the past century.
With this year marking the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the magazine “revisited each year since 1920, looking for women whose reach transcended their time,” wrote Time’s former editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs.
“Their influence in public and private life was not always positive; part of this exercise is acknowledging failures and blind spots as well as genius and vision,” she continued.
For 72 years, Time named a “Man of the Year” honoring world or industry leaders until 1999, but “while the name rightly changed, too often the choice was the same,” the magazine wrote in its introduction of the project.
“With this 100 Women of the Year project, we’re spotlighting influential women who were often overshadowed. This includes women who occupied positions from which the men were often chosen, like world leaders Golda Meir and Corazon Aquino, but far more who found their influence through activism or culture,” it added.
Aquino was named Woman of the Year in 1986 after she ended the nearly 21-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and became president of the Philippines.
“That democracy has endured on the archipelago. So have its power structures: a tradition of elite rule helped her son Benigno Aquino III to a widely admired term as President. And his coarse, swaggering successor, Rodrigo Duterte, daily demonstrates both the machismo Corazon Aquino overcame, and the value of the principled civility she modeled,” wrote Karl Vick in his piece about the former Philippine leader.
Ressa — who has become an international icon for press freedom and for being a vocal critic against the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte — was named Person of the Year in 2018 alongside other “Guardian in the War on Truth.”
In addition to her long journalism career, she was one of three women who started the news organization Rappler in 2012, “aiming to serve a Filipino population rapidly moving online.”
“But the news site turned into a global bellwether for free, accurate information at the vortex of two malign forces: one was the angry populism of an elected President with authoritarian inclinations, Rodrigo Duterte; the other was social media,” Vick wrote.
The list also includes British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana of Wales, former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, fashion icon Coco Chanel, artist Frida Kahlo, and entertainment personalities like Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Oprah Winfrey, among others.
“The 100 choices in this project are the result of a months-long process that began with more than 600 nominations submitted by TIME staff; experts in the field; our creative partner, filmmaker Alma Har’el; and a committee of notable women from various backgrounds,” the magazine explained.
In the process, 89 new magazine covers were designed by prominent artists, while 11 covers were left intact for those named Person of the Year.