by Amaranth Xena Soleil Saludar
A parola, which means “lighthouse,” serves as a navigational aid and warns sea vessels of dangerous areas. Inspired by the purpose of a lighthouse, youth-led organization Parola aimed to shed light on gender-related issues to guide the youth, spark change in the community, and promote equality.
Parola Philippines was launched on May 31, 2020 and headed by Gabrielle Banogon, a 15-year old high school student, along with core officers Faith Dytian, Ranie Lingan, Raeka Tan, Jillian Dy, and other members who are also high school students who live in the Philippines.
The team formed Parola because of the insights they had when they discussed about gender issues in the country and cases of discrimination and gender inequality around the world, as well as the emergence of local youth organizations.
“While discussing, we noticed that there were only a few organizations that focused on gender-related issues and discrimination-centered issues. We realized how difficult it would be for the youth to create a major impact…, especially because of the lack of a platform to raise awareness. Because we were all passionate about educating the youth on stigmatized topics, finding solutions for gender issues, and promoting equality, we decided to begin planning for our organization,” stated Banogon, founder and executive director of Parola.
Moreover, the team established Parola because of the current political climate, along with the Black Lives Matter movement and the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, which is now known as the Anti-Terrorism Law.
On behalf of Parola, Banogon claimed that what inspired them to make a difference are the people becoming “passionate” in addressing various social issues and joining the fight against inequality, which made Parola inclined to use their voice in the same way.
Striving to empower women and to amplify their voices, Parola has planned an upcoming project called “Woman of the Week,” which is an Instagram story-centered project that will feature weekly stories of different women who managed to overcome the obstacles they have encountered and achieved through their “hard work and integrity.”
“Through this, we aim to inspire women and prove that even with their differences and capabilities, anyone can spark a change for a better world, more so a better environment for women to be able to live in,” Banogon remarked.
With this, Banogon wants to inspire everyone to use social media and their privilege to voice their stand and help fight gender inequality in society.
“Fighting against gender inequality requires voice, strength, and hope. Sharing posts, commenting, posting; these are the little ways you can contribute to support a change. Social media is now a powerful tool to voice out one’s opinion, more so for those who are restricted in participating in rallies and protests,” encouraged Banogon.
“When you have the privilege to voice your views, use it to speak, to strive, to create an impact for the better outcome of society, and use this privilege, use it to stand up for those who do not,” she added.