EconomyEditor's PickEmpowered women

November 4, 2021

The Philippine population is about 50-50% male to female and our workforce is also about that ratio. However, when it gets to the boardroom, especially for publicly listed companies, the number drops significantly to 17% female board directors. The question is: should we be happy with 17% when studies show that companies with women in their boards result in better growth and performance?

This led to the formation of NextGen Organization of Women Corporate Directors (NOWCD), a non-profit group of women directors in boards of publicly listed and private companies. The goal is to increase women in board leadership positions by providing education and tools that keep members engaged, informed and high performing as directors. NOWCD will provide valuable local and international networks, training and capacity building to equip its members for their board roles and responsibilities.

Incorporated in September 2021 with Boots Garcia as chair and Chit Juan as president, NOWCD is affiliated with the Women Corporate Directors Foundation (WCD), the world’s largest community of women corporate women directors. Currently there are 30 members (by invitation) including Baby Nuesa, Maricelle Narciso, Nina Aguas, Nenette Lavares, Laurie Westfall, Mariana Zobel de Ayala, Gina Lorenzana, Gianna Montinola, Ida Tiongson, Lydia Echauz, Gianna Montinola, Jasmine Oporto, and Filipina CEOs Sharon Dayoan, Marife Zamora, Carol Dominguez and Riza Mantaring, among others.

WomenBizPH has just completed its very successful I AM WOMAN book and webinar series and already, there’s the Women Rise Research Project led by President Mylene Abiva, Chiqui Escareal Go and Atty. Dick Baladad.

When the lockdown started in 2020, economic activities were practically at a standstill. With the financial challenges, many small businesses were not able to bounce back and recover from the impact of the lockdown. So to better grasp the needs of Filipino Women Entrepreneurs, Women Rise took a close look at sunrise industries, the factors for their success and challenges to progress, such as the use of financial technology and the impact of national and local business environments. The Women’s Business Council also connected the Women Rise Research Study respondents to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Small Business Corp., the financial arm of DTI, to learn more about the BAYANIHAN Cares Financial Assistance program. Financial support will now be available for the participants to expand their business or pivot to a new industry through the initiative of WomenBizPH.

Women Rise’s recommendation is that capacity building activities will strengthen businesses agency and build resilience, such as:

o business resilience planning;

o evidence-based planning;

o understanding the current business environment, including the potential sunrise industries;

o financial technology; and

o adapting technology to boost their business.

In line with Agriculture Secretary William Dar”s PLANT! PLANT! for food security, FINEX Women in Finance led by Chair Terrie Magleo and Director Tiffi Zulueta sponsored the “Weedibles and Weedicinals” webinar emceed by Nikki Tang and moderated by Edith Dychiao. Yes! Weeds are useful. Many are edible and medicinal so no Filipino should go hungry. Do you know the weed for anti-aging, a memory enhancer, strong in vitamins B1, B2 and B6 for memory and nerves and even a facial moisturizer all in one? What weed is against dengue, good against anxiety and also has a calming effect?

Christmas is just around the corner. Makati Garden Club led by Chair Mindy Perez Rubio, President Ching Caluag, and board members Ninit Paterno, Emily Cruz, Ruby Roa, Sonya Garcia, and Sandra Fernandez are all busy preparing for the Holiday Event on Nov. 12-19 with 10% discount on Christmas items. Beautiful items from COZY IN NATURE by DARA are also available. Also, watch out for gardening workshops scheduled for next year!

Never a dull moment with these empowered women!

(The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of these institutions.)

Ms. Flor G. Tarriela was the first chairwoman of the Philippine National Bank. She was the first and only independent director/chairwoman in the commercial banking industry. She is a former Undersecretary of Finance and the first Filipina vice-president of Citibank N.A. She is a trustee of FINEX and an Institute of Corporate Directors fellow. A gardener and an environmentalist, she established Flor’s Garden in Antipolo, an ATI Accredited National Extension Service Provider and a DOT Accredited Agri Tourism Site.

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