The Chamber

Women in Business Gather to Promote Gender Equality and Women Empowerment

The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines (CCI France Philippines) together with Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (La Camara) held the She for She: Women in Business Forum last May 17, 2018 at the Makati Diamond Residences. She for She: Women in Business Forum falls in line with last year’s initiative created and lead by the French Embassy. The event was organized to highlight women empowerment and gender equality in business. Nearly a hundred guests from varied industries participated in the event.

CCI France Philippines’ President, Isabelle Nilo, and La Camara Vice President, Pacholo Garcia-Morera, opened the Business Forum highlighting the achievements of women who are transforming the business landscape through the promotion of equal and gender sensitive practices in the workplace. Also present in the event were H.E. Nicolas Galey, Ambassador of France to the Philippines and H.E. Luis Calvo, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines who gave the closing remarks and closing acknowledgments respectively.

Based on the 2017 Global Gender Gap report by the World Economic Forum, the Philippines rank 10th in terms of gender equality. Compared to European countries like France and Spain, the Philippines scores better overall and especially when it comes to equal economic opportunities as well as the wage gap. Several challenge were however noted in all countries represented including C-level representation, discrimination and the important number of women who are employed in the informal sector as for low-skilled and high risk jobs.  

The speakers and panelists who represented mainly the private sector with entrepreneurs, C-level from multinationals and local conglomerates, but also the diplomatic corps and the academe, shared their own experiences promoting women’s welfare and their respective company’s efforts in implementing gender inclusive policies in their organizations.

She for She: Women in Business Forum also featured keynote speakers Maria Ressa (CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler) and Geraldine Roman (1st district representative of Bataan and the first woman transgender to be elected in the congress) who left the audience in awe with their speeches. Each shared their inspiring stories on defying gender norms and fighting for their basic right as human beings to express themselves freely and be respected in return.  

The event opened the discussions to all the participants, getting their personal insights through the World Café Method of small group discussions. The outcome of those discussions was summarized in 3Ds- continuous Dialogue on gender issues, inclusive Development and acknowledgement of women’s Diversity. In conclusion, the forum challenged the popular notion of She for She and He for She to become a We for We- progress in society and equal opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, race, economic standing, religious and social background, physical ability and nationality.

She for She: Women in Business Forum is co-presented with BDO Unibank Inc and supported by its major sponsor, Trends and Concepts Total Interior Solutions and its minor sponsors, Avida Land Corporation and Pacific Cross Philippines. It is made possible by CCI France Philippines and La Camara’s partners, Art Plus Magazine, Femmes du Mondes, Janat and creative partner Artisano Studios.

The She for She: Women in Business Forum also launches CCI France Philippine’s Gender Initiative: a committee to continue the discussion on gender equality and women empowerment and undertake steps in promoting women professionals.  To learn more about CCI France Philippines’ Gender Initiative, contact Sabrina Alday at sabrina.alday(@) (email) or 831-6374 (phone).

Event Speakers:

Dr. Nathalie Africa-Verceles, Director, UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies: Perspectives on Gender Equality in the Workplace
Janet Patricia Webster-Watson, Chairperson, Investors in People: Anti-discrimination laws as applied in the work place
Maria Carolina Dominguez, President and CEO, John Clements Consultants: Are Women Leaders Better Than Men?
Malou Espina, VP for Marketing and Communications, Total (Philippines) Corporation: Women in Male Dominated Industries
Maria Ressa, CEO and Executive Editor, Rappler: Spreading Hate to Silence Speech
Jane Xu, Country Manager, International Finance Corporation: A World Perspective in Women in Business: A Case Study on IFC’s Banking on Women Program
Reese Fernandez Ruiz, Cofounder, Rags2Riches: Empowering Women Through Social Entrepreneurship
Stephanie Carrette, Program Manager, EU Delegation: EU Policies on Gender Equality in the Workplace
Congw. Geraldine Roman,1st District Representative-Bataan: Defying Gender Norms and Inspiring Gender Equality


HE Amanda Gorely, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines
Gail Bantiling, Head of Design and Construction Management Division-Trends and Concepts Total Interior Solutions
Rombit Co, Senior VP and Co-Head International Desk- BDO Unibank Inc.
Rocio Olbes Ressano, ‘Femmes du Monde’ Representative Philippines, President of the SBC Foundation, Cofounder of livelihood initiative Bars to Bears and HENRY

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