As we draw to a close the celebration of #NationalWomenMonth2022, we are sharing the highlights of the #NationalMuseumPH lecture She Digs: Women in Archaeology, held online yesterday, March 29, 2022.

The presentations, which aimed to highlight and discuss the contributions, involvement, and visibility of women of and in archaeology, were delivered by four competent archaeologists from the Archaeological Studies Program of the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UP-ASP).

Dr. Mary Jane Louise Bolunia, Museum Curator II and Officer-in-Charge of the Archaeology Division, officially opened the program and welcomed students, educators, museum and heritage workers, as well as colleagues from various academic institutions and local government units nationwide. In her remarks, she shared about the prevailing challenges, social pressures, and misconceptions when she was starting in the discipline, and how she envisions more women in the field recognized as archaeologists without the gender qualifier. 

The first lecture was on women in the history of Philippine archaeology, presented by Dr. Ligaya Lacsina, highlighting the few women pioneers in both terrestrial and underwater archaeology who paved the way and are still continuing to do so with the new generations that sprung from their breaking of barriers. Andrea Dominique Cosalan’s presentation focused on the Tabon (Wo)Man as a talking point for the invisibility of women in prehistory, the importance of inclusivity, and the use of gender-fair language in academic and public discussions. A slide show of archaeologists-at-work and students-in-training signaled an intermission for the second half of the program.

Dr. Grace Barretto-Tesoro discussed where the women are in Philippine archaeological sites and suggested methods on how their presence may be observed in the archaeological record. Marie Louise Antoinette Sioco presented last on a co-authored research on an examination of experiences in the archaeology of females and LGBTQIA+ in the Philippines, with recommendations and mitigating measures for a more gender-safe working environment.

An open forum was very lively and interactive and there was not enough time to entertain the questions from the attentive participants. Bobby Orillaneda, Senior Museum Researcher and Officer-in-Charge of the Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division provided an in-depth recap of the wonderful talks, which he described as enriching and an eye-opener. He hoped that the participants learned from the webinar and that this knowledge equips them when confronted with gender issues in the field. He expressed support for women’s endeavors and agreed that archaeology is for everyone interested, regardless of gender. 

The lecture was organized by the NMP-Archaeology Division, and the Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division, supported by the agency’s Gender and Development Focal Point System.

#MuseumFromHome #TrowelTuesday #PurpleYourIcon #PurpleTuesday #WeMakeChangeWorkForWomen #BabaeHindiBabaeLang #WomenCan

Text and photos by NMP-AD, NMP-MUCHD, and NMP-GFPS

© 2022 National Museum of the Philippines