Women's Economic Realities

A podcast series from the lived realities of rural and indigenous peasant women in the Philippines

Interrogating whose voices and experiences are reflected in existing economic narratives will always matter. Critical to this process is ensuring voices that are silenced, and experiences that are sidelined be included in the current economic framework that are defined and appropriated in the discourse of economic alternatives.

Each episode of this podcast is not a standalone theme. It offers layer upon layer of focus that has emerged from the conversations with rural and indigenous peasant women. These episodes are interrelated in understanding social and ecological issues from their lived realities.

The methodological approach used in the process of inquiry were individual and group interviews that revolved around the core question — what is a quality of life for you?as the starting point.  This podcast offers a glimpse of their reality.

“A Regenerative Economic framework has guided me in outlining the foundation of this project. I envision contributing to the development of a people’s economy stemmed from principles of inclusion, care, justice, and equity. The concept of the Doughnut Economy served as an inspiration to my project. The opportunity to learn, understand, and read the principles of the Doughnut Economy during my short but meaningful time with AFSEE (Atlantic Fellowship for Social and Economic Equity) has been a tremendous incentive for me to engage with it and seek to contribute to its present framework. I bring to the framework my own knowledge and experience as an advocate and practitioner of feminist popular education and draw in the actual living stories of rural and indigenous women in the Philippines.”

Zeph Repollo,


The generative conversation with rural and indigenous peasant women lifted four intersecting and equally vital social infrastructures as foundational. These include Culture, Knowledge, Resources, and Nutrition. These four intersecting social categories function interdependently and inseparably comprising a web of needs and values that is vital in enabling a quality life.

The process rendered an image that locates the social categories interconnectedness necessary in building a society based on equity in harmony with nature.

The intersecting elements serve to fortify the foundation to build a society that is rooted in justice, equity, respect, harmony, and care for the environment— the essential ingredients in building communities of peace.

  1. The Leaves: the four key elements—culture, knowledge resources and nutrition—pulsating and breathing life in the lives of rural and indigenous peasant women.

  2. The Inner Circles namely, Communal Wellness, Governance, Education, and Self-determined Development are composites bracing the social foundation that are enabled through the intersections of culture, knowledge, resources, and nutrition.

  3. The Outermost Circle reflects the natural environment where they interact, thrive, and survive: the freshwater, forest reserves, breathable air, and ocean are key features in the lives of rural and indigenous peasant women keeping their life within livable thresholds. Environment captures the interdependence of our ecosystem and the social fabric that creates the condition of a quality life. This conversations with women generated illustrations of the impact of sustainability in relation to wholistic safety and wellness. Stories of the destructive impact of extractive activities such as large-scale mining and negligence in mine tailings on their lives was a recurring theme including, harmful pesticides, processing plants, waste disposal, among other affecting their source of food and livelihood. Vital to their life are the availability of freshwater sources, forest reserves, oceans, and clean air.

  4. The Midfield, the intersecting social foundations interacting within livable threshold upholds a decolonized, regenerative, safe, and equitable economy for the people and planet. Safety of people and planet needs to also underscore decolonial, just, and equitable solutions.


Intersectionality is a key aspect in defining the primary elements of the dataset. It unpacks and lays to bare how power operates in the lives, context, and issues that women are facing in relation to their depiction and vision of a better life. It is important to note that the use of the term “systems” in the economy bring with it a set of cultural shaping norms and a set of perceived truths influencing social contracts.

Episode 1: THe Regenerative Economic Framework

Inspired by Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economy, this episode outlines the background of the process and unpacks the rendered framework derived from the interviews with women. The processs seeks to intentionally amplify voices from the margins of development. Rural and indigenous peasant women are weaving together their diverse realities, reclaiming narrative, and defining what matters and why.

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The Regenerative Economic Framework

Episode 2: Simple life is sufficient life

This episode will bring us into the lives, dreams, and aspirations of these women. Notable to this episode is the connection of their aspirations in life within their own context of poverty. “Sim-ple ay sapat!” (simple life is sufficient life) summarizes their dreams and aspirations. This episode sets the stage for re-imagining the infrastructures to a livable and inclusive economy

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Simple Life is Sufficient Life
Simple ay Sapat

Episode 3: Women’s care responsibilities

This episode highlights women’s care responsibility in overcoming obstacles for survival. Conditions of poverty have come to exist not because of the gap or absence of their leadership, but because of the lack of infrastructures that would enable their aspirations toward attaining a better life. The important element of this episode is recognizing the interweaving care responsibility in order to meet demands for health, education, and subsistence for their families.  

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Women's Care Responsibilities
Kalingang Nakaatang sa Kababaihan

Episode 4: Community practices and government services

This episode speaks about the different rituals and cultural practices they have in their communities in almost every stage of life. These rituals and cultural practices evolved through time as they adapt to the changes around their needs in order to survive. It includes the role of government and how services are experienced from their vantage point. 

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Community Practices and Government Services
Kultura at Kagawian sa Komunidad at Panlipunang Serbisyo ng Gobyerno

Episode 5: Land is life

It focuses on their experiences of life in relation to land. This episode depicts diverse, but similar stories evolving around land and territories. They describe how land is essential to the life, culture, and identity not only for small farmers but for indigenous women whose subsistence is tied into their concept and understanding of territories. This episode also describes social dynamics and cultural practices reflective of a period when land was not privatized, divided, and exploited for profit. It also presented historical accounts that operationalized private ownership of land that dispossessed indigenous peoples and peasants and its impact upon culture as well as in determining development.  

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Land is Life
Ang Lupa ay Buhay

Episode 6: Women and environment

This brings to the surface life’s interdependence on the environment as source of nutrition, water, livelihood, and safety particularly from natural disasters. The environment’s vulnerability to destruction and extraction impacts their level of sustainability as well. Subsistence culture is still prevalent in how they utilize what is left in the environment for them to care and nurture. 

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Women and Environment
Kababaihan at Kapaligiran

"I learned that equally important to strengthening inclusivity and accessibility to social services, determining the ethics of ecological boundaries, is to understand the intersecting relationships that determines the definition of development in the fulfillment of the desired quality of life.

Overall, the process brought to light that change is inevitable. Exclusion and discrimination in any processes only replicates the existing unjust system masked with alternative solutions. Therefore, integral to any forms of alternative development solutions and actions emerging and driven by the most impacted sectors of society is integral in the ways forward as we reshape the world into a more equitable and environmentally sustainable community."

Zeph Repollo,



I would like to acknowledge the following networks who in one way or another participated in this process:

The women farmers in Quezon through MASIPAG which stands for Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura or Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development. MASIPAG is a farmer-led network of people’s organizations, NGOs and scientists working towards the sustainable use and management of biodiversity through farmers’ control of genetic and biological resources, agricultural production, and associated knowledge. 

I would also want to acknowledge the indigenous peasant women in the Cordilleras through INABUYOG. Inabuyog is the alliance of indigenous women’s organization in the Cordillera reclaiming the indigenous women’s historical and significant role in defending ancestral land, life, resources, and dignity.

And the grassroots-oriented non-profit women’s resource centers and institutions in the Philippines, such as CWEARC (Cordillera Women’s Education Action, Research Center) and CWR (Center for Women’s Resources), for offering their time, linkages, local translations, creative input, support in logistics, as invaluable contribution to this project.

And the invaluable support of the Atlantic Fellowship that enabled this learning opportunity.

Maraming, maraming salamat po!