I am Generation Equality: Louise Mabulo, Philippine chef, farmer and activist
Author: Louise Mabulo
Three actions you can take to build a more equitable, sustainable world:
- Buy from small-scale family farmers who create their own produce. Your support could translate into an education for their children, or dinner at the table every evening.
- Cultivate new skills and knowledge in food systems, and share them. This could be simply finding out how your food gets to the table, which communities your purchases support, or how to reduce food waste at home. Small steps like these make great impact collectively.
- Volunteer for, donate to, or talk about organizations and individuals who are working to build better conditions and food systems.
I am Generation Equality because…
I believe that any woman has the right to do whatever it is she sets her mind to, and that she has a right to be viewed as an equal, in any place and in any industry.
I am a chef and a farmer. Both are well known to be male-dominated industries. And despite the stereotypes that women belong in the kitchen and that gardening is a feminine pastime, I’ve noticed that when a skill or a hobby becomes a professional career or an industry … it ceases to be viewed as feminine. Suddenly the kitchens and farms are no longer a place for a woman. I’ve always wanted to chisel away at these stereotypes and empower other young women to take on these roles, while still being proud of their femininity.
The climate threat
The climate crisis is one of the more looming threats, with many populations disproportionately affected across the world, and yet the gravity of its impact is not something that many people consider greatly urgent in the short-term perspective.
Poverty, food security, peace and justice are just some of the main issues I aim to tackle with my work, and are at the forefront of my mind in terms of sheer urgency to address, especially knowing that these also go on to have an impact on our climate, and on the systems that dictate our future.
“Rethink the world you exist in, and address the preconceived notions and ideas you may have.”
The responsibility of youths
My advice to young people is to rethink the world you exist in, and address the preconceived notions and ideas you may have. It’s important to work on ourselves first and dismantle our own biases or prejudice before we go out into the world to make change.
But once you do take action, start local within your own communities, which you know best and are able to empathize with, and take responsibility for the issues you personally know you face in these communities.
The responsibility of men
Men can do their part by supporting, empowering and respecting women who are building careers in these industries.
I have to give credit to my dad, who encouraged me to try everything -- cooking, farming, sports or whatever it was I set my mind to -- even if they weren’t conventionally accepted interests. And I wish more people would do the same for young women under them too.
To be a women’s rights activist is to be a human rights activist. It is to ensure we build world systems that are equitable, that are fair, that leave no one behind.
It means you stand up for me, and for my voice. The voice of your mother, and the voices of young girls who will one day go on to be farmers, chefs, entrepreneurs, presidents, world-builders and life-savers.
Louise Mabulo, 22, is based in San Fernando, Camarines Sur province of the Philippines. She is the founder of The Cacao Project, a social venture aimed at equipping farmers for sustainable success. She is a United Nations Environment Programme Young Champion of the Earth, National Geographic Young Explorer, and Forbes Under 30 Honouree.