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March 8, 2017


Today, March 8, is international women’s day. In the Philippines, March is also women’s month. Manila Speak columnist Chit Juan shared her story this morning as an entrepreneur in Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness. Their site has a world map where I clicked on pins to watch other women entrepreneurs from across the globe. After an hour, another lady goes live. This sharing of dreams that turned into success stories creates a ripple effect that makes fellow women and gentlemen feminists agree that indeed, “when women succeed, everybody wins”!

Geplaatst door WomenBizPH op dinsdag 7 maart 2017

Women helping women
In our history, Filipinas played an important role in the family, community, business, and in politics. There were setbacks when the colonizers made some social changes, but the spirit of the Filipina did not waver, just like the women of Malolos (I suggest you read The Other Philippine History Textbook Book 1 by Christine Diaz to learn more). Now, more Filipinas continue to step up. They are keen to show their talents, make their voices heard, and work alongside men in various professions.

During the “Shattering the Expatriate Glass Ceiling” talk by the Women’s Business Council Philippines last January 27, the speakers revealed that the impact made by other women—may it be their mother, sister, friend, or business mentor—gave them the boost that they need to achieve their dreams.

My seatmate in that event works in the banking industry. While nodding, she mentioned, “When we’re hiring, I prioritize fellow women. The men also agree that the women in the team are dependable.” But like what Ambassador Delia Albert shared, the challenge of that afternoon’s talk was what we can do to help ensure the chances of fellow Filipinas in the lateral level, since everyone knows that women in different working ages are present in the vertical or corporate ladder. She then gave out brochures to those who might be interested to join the Global Summit of Women in Japan this May 11-13.

Women help themselves to rise, too
It’s nice to see and hear women helping women. I believe it’s easier to help a fellow lady because we are known to be willing learners, too. In the coffee industry alone, Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. (PCBI) Chair Nicholas Matti stated that most coffee farmers worldwide are women. I witnessed this last January 30 when PCBI went to Benguet to meet the farmers. About 65% of those who attended are women, some even carrying their toddler or baby while listening to the visitors about proper planting and harvest.

With an open mind and heart, who can resist teaching them the skills that they need to gain? All they need is a chance and both the public and private sectors should work hand-in-hand to make sure this happens.


Women play an important role in Asia’s productivity
Even Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn, the Secretary General of the Asian Productivity Organization, echoed this when he presented his thoughts on Productivity and Sustainability to select members of the mass media. There are opportunities to be productive and the first that he mentioned is to increase the participation of the women as well as the elders in the workforce. He is confident that women are and should be part of Asia’s inclusive growth.

I understood what Dr. Santhi meant because my new media friends (and Asian sisters) and I would share stories on how women in our respective countries also work hard to uplift their lives by creating better products and services. Listening to their stories made me realize that with productivity in and among our countries, the world will soon recognize the bright future of the ASEAN region.

I was also reading some examples in the third issue of the Women’s Guide to Business magazine. From the Philippine Women’s Economic Network (or PHILWEN, an alliance of the country’s six leading business groups: Filipina CEO Circle, Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran, Network for Enterprising Women, Women Corporate Directors, Business and Professional Women Makati, and WomenBizPH) to the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (or AWEN, launched in 2014 to provide a platform for networking, market access, and support within the region for female entrepreneurs to grow), it will not be long before the world recognizes Filipinas and other Asian women.

I hope this happens soon to foreshadow the challenge that gender bias keeps women out of good jobs and from seizing economic opportunities because they are expected to maintain their traditional role as family caregivers. Thus, less than half of the Asian working-age women are in the workforce, compared with 80% of men. The chances they take and the decisions they make at home and in the workplace can truly help in economic growth.

March 8 is about to end but I wish, like Ms. Chit Juan, that everyday will be women’s day. Let’s continue to support our fellow Filipinas,our Asian sisters, and other women across the globe. We know that we can and we will. We’ve done it in the past and the present challenges shouldn’t stop us from creating a sustainable future for the next generation of women.



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