Women behind #BabaeAko social media campaign named among TIME’s ‘most influential online’

The women behind social media campaign #BabaeAko were recently named one of TIME’s “25 most influential people on the internet” this year.

The campaign has roots in the Philippines — which was started after constant rape jokes and sexist comments by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the hash-tag #BabaeAko, users upload videos calling out sexism in the Duterte administration.

In San Francisco, spokeswoman of GABRIELA — a Filipina-led activist organization — Joms Salvador brings the campaign to the United States.

Salvador says that despite the Philippines being a traditional patriarchal society, it is becoming more dangerous for women since Duterte took office.

“His words can be construed as policy directions. His words can be construed as this is great. We should emulate him and it really destroys whatever moral fabric, I think.”

Fil-Ams here say that social media is a powerful tool due to the up-to-date information of atrocities women in the Philippines are facing.

“The origins are coming from the Philippines, but the impact of that regime is being felt all over the world. As we can see, the social media platform changes the ability of people in the Philippines to really inform what is happening in the country to everywhere around the world,” said Dr. Valerie Francisco-Menchavez.

Allies in the US say that through this campaign, all women will be empowered to combat sexism and violence.

“The frame in saying ‘I am woman’ allows all women to unite across solidarity,” says Susan Swan. “We talk about local and global solidarity a lot, and when you unite women across the globe, unite women across the countries you can really show their power. They can speak with true voice. They have community around them, too.”

Following San Francisco — the #BabaeAko campaign will also be brought to other major cities such as Los Angeles and New York.

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