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Digital Pinay : What the --?!

I was supposed to write about something but this caught my eye as I was going to through my feeds this morning. There is an IT Beauty Pageant! I thought to myself, "What is going on?" because it seems too contrived.

I got the links from Sacha posted links there. And I read through the application form for it. I couldn't help but feel awful. It looked like a silly prank to me.

This is what I got from Migs Paraz's blog post:
The Search for DIGITAL PINAY 2005 is on! Organized by the Philippine Computer Society (PCS) and Media G8way Corp. (MGC), DIGITAL PINAY is a nationwide search – in both the Professional and Co-Ed Categories – for the woman who best exemplifies the qualities expected of future women leaders of the Philippine information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

The competition is divided into four (4) phases and will culminate in a Coronation Night that will be held on 04 June 2005, Saturday, at the Carlos P. Romulo Theatre, RCBC Plaza, City of Makati.

The winner in the Professional Category shall serve as PCS Ambassadress of Goodwill and will be the role model for all ICT professionals in the country.

The deadline for submitting application forms is 31 January 2005.

The following pages contain the application form as well as other essential information about the search. Should you have other queries, please feel free to contact:

Philippine Computer Society (PCS)
Unit 263 Cityland Dela Rosa Condominium
Dela Rosa Street, City Makati
Tel. No: (++63-2) 840-0986
Tel/Fax: (++632) 894-4325 or 840-0985
Contact Person: Ms. Janet R. Lizaso
E-mail: [email protected]

Media G8way Corporation
3rd Floor, Eurovilla II Building
118 V. A. Rufino Street (formerly Herrera St.)
Legaspi Village, City of Makati
Tel. No (++63-2) 812-8401 to 03
Fax No (++63-2) 894-2487
Contact Person: Mr. Michael C. Blancas
E-mail [email protected]


After reading the complete document here, I was still in shock that they are holding such an event. And LJ user cmarguel also posted some screenshots of the document along with his comments.

It would have been great to give awards to women who make great advances in the field. It is wonderful to recognize these people. But such contest? I think it's wrong because the image that would be projected. The CV's and transcripts of the contestants are required, yes, but there is also a part wherein the document says that there will also be consideration for text votes. Text votes?! Good grief! A lot of people don't know much about IT in the country and what do you do? Make popularity a criteria? I think that _that_ is crazy. I don't know why Filipinos seem to have a fascination for text voting.

Criteria for judging:
Text Votes 20%
*Popularity of the candidate through the number of text votes she receives.
*Shows also the kind of personal network the candidate has built.
*People’s choice.

Intelligence 40%
*Rated by a panel of judges, based on one-on-one interviews, on the candidate’s grasp of industry issues as well as her technical knowledge.
*Takes into account the candidate’s academic performance and technical proficiency based on her 201/academic records.

Beauty / Presentability 20%
*Rated by a panel of judges – during the finals night – based on the physical appearance or attributes of a candidate.
*Emphasizes the candidate’s personal appeal and pleasantness.

Poise / Personality 20%
*Rated by a panel of judges – during the finals night – based on how a candidate carries herself and answers questions under pressure.
*Also considers the candidate’s unique personality and how well she conveys it.

Seems to me that 60% of the criteria is more on the appeal of the person rather than the skill, intelligence, wisdom and contribution of the person to the field. So how "digital" is that?

I am in my ranting mode. This is not always the case with me. But I would just like to make it clear that my point of view is that if we really want IT to be promoted in this country we have to make other ways. Not like this. It's bad enough that there is a prevalent macho-man mentality in a lot of Filipino men and to do this to women is awful. And what if some women do try out for this? What would they get? Php 25,000? Heck, that is not even at par with their salaries, I suppose.

Beyond the material prizes is the prestige of winning in this industry competition and the myriad opportunities that await the candidates. Joining and winning in the Search for Digital Pinay translates to high visibility in the job market. As it is backed by the prestigious Philippine Computer Society, the competition has the imprimatur of the ICT industry. It is virtually an endorsement for the winners that they indeed are the future female ICT leaders to watch out for.

I hope that people would indeed see them as leaders. Sometimes, winners of such contests get stucked in a box that they winners of a pageant, etc. You want role models? You can be one without having to have such poise and beauty. And it is good to have poise and beauty but don't give too much emphasis on it. It is bad enough that people think that IT people are geeks with nothing else but it is worse to make women in the IT field as objects to look at, as trophies. *shudders* And there is also an age requirement. Gosh! Are we to look at only the young women in the IT industry as the possible role models? Hahahaha. No way. There were probably some women visionaries in the 80's and 90's that are more than 35 years old by this time. Aren't they role models too? Maybe some of them didn't get much credit for what they have done.

Recognize people who deserve recognition. Search for them, nominate them, reward them. But, please, don't make this about their beauty, grace and poise. We have too many beauty pageants as it is. Let's see these women in the IT industry as leaders, as visionaries, as role models, without having the sash. Let us help build a society that will look at women with respect and dignity and high regard for their contribution to their field. I guess it is time to really evaluate how we define who a "Digital Pinay" is.


At 07:59, Sacha said...

Thanks. <hugz> We're making things happen!


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