Maita Gomez, an inspiration for women human rights defenders

THE new woman, the new Filipina, is first and foremost a militant…She is a woman who has discovered the exalting realm of responsibility, a woman fully engaged in the making of history…” ((Ma. Lorena Barros, “Liberated Women II” in Pugad Lawin, Taon 18 Blg 3, Enero-Pebrero 1971: 32)

The life of Maita Gomez embodies an exemplary response to this most relevant call for all of humanity, this most significant call for all Filipinas.

Tanggol Bayi, an association of women human rights defenders in the Philippines, pays tribute to Maita – activist, rebel, intellectual, mother, teacher, former political detainee, fashion model, beauty queen, a woman whose life was dedicated to the struggle for freedom, national democracy and women’s emancipation.

She passed away on July 13, 2012 in her sleep, but she left a legacy that inspires all women, especially those of the younger generation, to continue and persevere in the struggle for the defense and assertion of women’s and people’s rights.

From being a fashion model/beauty queen to a dedicated fighter and organizer of the armed underground movement, unto her arrest and detention and eventual escape from the hands of the military, to her leadership of and participation in women’s and people’s organizations, Maita clearly demonstrated  her intellect and deep grasp of the people’s struggle.

Maita, in all her wit, beauty, kindness and humor, exemplifies “the new woman, the new Filipina,” as described by Ma. Lorena Barros, one of the founders of the Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan and a martyr.*

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