Michelle A. Navajas on ‘Women: Then and Now’

The author during the online session at LitVoice dissects gender issues, female representation and progress from pages of history to contemporary times.
Michelle Ayon Navajas (Filipino, born June 23, 1976) is a Filipino poet, writer and educator. Her 5th poetry book, “ Will Love You Forever, Too” went straight to the number ONE spot in Amazon and Kobo.Com on its first day of release in
less than 24 hours. She also authored the poetry books “After Rain Skies”, “What
If Snowflakes Don’ Fall In Winter”, “Oh! Dear One”and “I Would Fly To Where You Are”. She is a published author at Spillwords NYC, a three-time “Publication of the Month” nominee. Her poetry appeared in several international literary magazines and anthologies. Michelle is also being awarded as “Best Poetry Author 2021” from LitVoice Magazine and Foxlio Awards.
Starting the conversation reminiscing her college days at the Centro Escolar University, Michelle spoke about her earliest influences in the field of writing, starting from the Shakespearean and Greek tragedies she had read in college. Michelle, Poetry a genre she later explored through her writings. Michelle, who also teaches literature, speech & oral communication, creative writing, drama, and theatre arts, navigated the conversation towards the evening’s topic and stated that women’s wants years back and at present haven’t altered much. “They want to be respected, want some autonomy, and to be treated with dignity. It is just that the social and historical contexts are different. So, I try to write from a human level…” she said.
Coming to the use of the first person in her book, she emphasised how this narrative style brings about closeness in the reader-writer-character relationship. Talking about the contemporary women who are challenging the regressive social norms and overcoming all obstacles to achieve their dreams.
We have achieved so much for which we should be both grateful and proud, but there remains a lot to be achieved. I think the spirit of feminism as I understand is very simple,” she said as the conversation proceeded into the discussion of feminism. More than focusing on the term, Michelle stressed how every woman deserves a life of dignity and the ability to make her own choices. She stressed over and over again upon women’s education, their financial independence, the need to give them career-oriented training, and women coming forward to help other women grow. Michelle expressed her strong critic of women who feel threatened by other women’s courage to break out of their traditional roles.
As the discussion progressed into the women’s issues of the contemporary world, apart from organisational resistance by women, education, job training, and financial independence, she emphasised on the need for the change of attitude of general people, especially where women are not treated as equals. “This (change of attitude) is a larger and more complicated problem, which is to change the mindset that a strong woman is negative. A strong woman who is earning and taking up space in the outside world is a great asset to her family and community,” said Michelle.
“A strong woman is not just a woman who makes use of life’s opportunities but also manages to stand strong when things fall apart.” Michelle Ayon Navajas on building women. Hence, it was truly our privilege to have Michelle explain to us in her usual lucid style about ‘Women — Then and Now.”

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