Women mean business
Jeannie Javelosa (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - At the height of Yolanda’s catastrophic fury last year, Peggy Dulany-Rockefeller came to the Philippines to show her support for women’s empowerment as she continues to lead her philanthropic Synergos Institute against poverty and inequality on a global scale. At the core of inequality and poverty are women issues.

Rockefeller was joined by Senator Grace Poe in her first public stand supporting women’s empowerment when they both faced the Business and Professional Women of Makati (BPW Makati). The women empowerment movement has been rapidly rising all over the world, guided in a way by direction from the Nations, under what is called the WEPs or the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

In the United Nations, there is a UN Global Compact focused on WEP – where “equality means business.” These are guidelines which women’s groups all over the world have started to localize and push to support gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community.  This alignment with WEP differentiates the BPW Makati from all other professional and business networks in the country.

BPW Makati has been instrumental in trying to bring both business and professional women into a real working network to enhance leadership of women in the corporate workplace and decision making roles. As well as enhance their financial knowledge and access to capital, with an advocacy challenge for women to “Step Up.”

A delegation from BPW Makati recently returned from the International Treinale Congress in Jeju, Korea. As a voting member for the Philippines, the delegation supported resolutions that included support to rights of disabled women, gender empowerment to reduce damage by disasters, gender balance on boards, prevention of child marriages and forced marriages, amongst others.

BPW Makati chairperson Ambassador Delia Albert, now a senior consultant of SGV Ernst and Young, was an opening speaker in the Congress, sharing her experience of being the first woman diplomat in the region and the first woman secretary of foreign affairs, breaking the “glass ceiling” in regional diplomacy.

Luvy Villanueva and I, as BPW president, shared the GREAT Women Platform, the inclusive gender platform of the country that supports economic empowerment within the supply chain, while broadcast TV host Lexi Schultz was part of the Women in Media panel.

The Jeju Congress also resulted in BPW Makati gratefully receiving, on behalf of the Yolanda typhoon victims in Ormoc, Leyte, financial donations from Japan and Australia, and even Korea’s MCM Luxury Bags Group.

When women come together, things can happen, as it did with a special project that BPW members signed off on during that Congress. As part of the GREAT Women Platform of the country engineered by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Commission for Women and the ECHOsi Foundation of ECHOstore, US-based CX Catalyst company will bring in water carriers for poor rural folks, while Africa Visions, Inc. will be sharing a green recycled stove technology from Egypt presently used in Africa.

BPW Makati’s international alignments include the nomination of young entrepreneurs and businesswomen to the Online Business Mentoring Program of the Cherie Blaire Foundation from the UK, and the E-Woman Loan Program of the RCBC powered by the International Finance Center’s regional gender fund.


The author is co-founder of ECHOstore and president of ECHOsi Foundation. Find BPW Makati on Facebook or www.womensteppingup.org



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