TIME hails women of #BabaeAko movement as one of most influential people online

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 29) — These women have spoken up against the alleged misogyny and sexism of President Rodrigo Duterte, and TIME Magazine has taken notice.

The women of social media campaign #BabaeAko Movement was named by TIME as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Internet in 2018.

TIME on Friday said the influencers were picked by looking at their "global impact on social media and their overall ability to drive news." The other names on the list include K-pop group BTS, U.S. President Donald Trump, Rihanna, Kanye West, fitness guru Kayla Itsines, and the students of Parkland, Florida.

The group of women — composed of journalists, activists, former Cabinet member, and lawmakers — aunched social media campaign #BabaeAko in May to fight back against what they called an attack against women launched by President Duterte himself.

Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, activist Mae Paner, journalist Inday Espina-Varona among others, posted bold declarations against Duterte.

"#BabaeAko... Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya. Lalaban ako. Women, biological and self-identified, please make your own post. Starting with Babae Ako and ending with Lalaban Ako," Taguiwalo said as she encouraged other women to speak up.

Varona said their inclusion in the TIME list came as a surprise.

"When @TIME reached out, we thought it was going to be a straight news story. Only in the last few days did we realize #BabaeAko would end up here," she tweeted on Friday.

Several personalities and netizens — men included — have used #BabaeAko online to rally against Duterte's statements and actions.

On Independence Day, hundreds of members and supporters of the #BabaeAko Movement gathered at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila. Protesters said they want freedom from sexism and misogyny following the controversial incident where Duterte kissed a married Filipina at a public gathering during his official visit to South Korea.

Duterte has a slew of controversial statements against women. In June, he defended why he prefers appointing men over women in government posts. In May, he said he is not keen on picking a woman to replace ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

There was also outrage in February when he publicly ordered soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in the vagina because of there is "no vagina, it would be useless."

Women's groups have repeatedly called out Duterte's "misogynist" remarks, but the Palace said Duterte does not discriminate against women.

The President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, on Wednesday said the #BabaeAko Movement is "doomed" to fail because her father is not a misogynist.