Why another women’s group?

From bworldonline.com by Pacita U. Juan

As more women join the advocacy to bring more women in the corporate C-suite, or to empower a microentrepreneur in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), six leading women groups in business recently formed an alliance called Philippine Womens Economic Network or PHILWEN. Ms. Boots Garcia, former chair of BCDA and WomenBizPH, was nominated as president.

Lead convenor is the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines or WomenbizPH with its VP, Atty. Dick Du-Baladad, as representative and the other members are: Filipina CEO Network represented by Cristina Concepcion, SPARK represented by Vicky Garchitorena, NEW headed by Myren Garcia, Women Corporate Directors represented by Sharon Dayoan and myself; and BOW Makati represented by Jeannie Javelosa and Camille Escudero.

These women organizations centered on economic empowerment will be engaging various government agencies in the use of the Gender and Development (GAD) budgets of LGUs and NGAs; represent the business women in ASEAN and APEC meetings; improve the numbers of diverse corporate boards and generally engage more women to be in the corporate world and in the MSME community.

The membership range will cover a wide spectrum from young entrepreneurs to seasoned executives, as well as middle management and young professionals. PHILWEN will best represent the policy advocacy efforts to include more women in business decisions and in legislation, such as the implementation of the Magna Carta for Women, a powerful law that has to see proper implementation.

Women in business contributes a big part of GDP and women are known to make 80% of purchase decisions, here and globally. The inclusion of women in the economy constitutes a major part of a country’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN.

The group envisions to be very involved with the ASEAN 50th anniversary celebration this year which the Philippines is hosting. PHILWEN is also the focal point for the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) which is chairing the network from May 2016 to 2018.

People often ask me why the need for a women’s group, especially now that many women occupy executive positions already anyway. I always find that it is easier to explain diversity and gender equity to men and women who already at least recognize what diversity means to the bottomline. Many global studies have already proven that diversity means profitability.

In MNCs, creditors like IMF and ADB often require diversity in corporate boards, in staffing and for companies to have gender policy statements to be compliant with the creditors’ policies. In SMEs and MSMEs, there are more women entrepreneurs and, by default, become the CEOs or COOs of their enterprises. With regional integration in place, many women entrepreneurs among AWEN’s members have already collaborated for partnerships in business. We note that Philippine brand Penshoppe is already in Myanmar through our AWEN member Ma Khine Zaw. We also note that the Great Women Brand (a Philippine-registered company and trademark) is already in Malaysia and will soon be in Myanmar and Singapore.

This is the value of being a member in organized groups. This is one of the tips given by Global Summit of Women founder Irene Natividad when she was PHILWEN’s guest last Christmas in a breakfast mentoring session. “You need to join a group,” Irene says. And PHILWEN’s members all nodded in agreement.

For the ASEAN celebrations and the coming women’s month which is in March, PHILWEN will be working on a “Women In Tech” forum as well as an ASEAN Women’s Business Conference in late August preceding the ASEAN Economic Ministers Summit.

An ASEAN Trade Exchange will also be organized for a business matching among women-led as well as other business groups.

For women who have broken the proverbial glass ceiling as well as now heading usually male-led business organizations, we note the election of Filipina CEO Circle (FCC) Founder Marife Zamora who is our new MAP president and WomenBizPh VP Dick Du-Baladad who now is the president of FINEX.

So why another women’s group? PHILWEN knows it can catapult Filipina power into boards, into the region, and onto the rest of the world. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

The article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or the MAP.

Ms. Pacita “Chit” U. Juan is the chair of the MAP Trade, Investments and Tourism Committee. She is the chair of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN); Chair of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines (Womenbizph); and founding chair of the Women Corporate Directors PH chapter.

Linked in: Pacita Juan

Twitter @chitjuan





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