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Women who lead

Women taking up space

Historically, women have taken a backseat in almost every aspect you can think of, constantly interrupted or taken for granted. But in the past years, women have been changing the narrative. With global movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp, and the rise of empowered women fighting for climate change, representation, and equality for all, women have truly been taking up space and their rightful place in history.

The COVID-19 crisis was a litmus test for leadership all over the world, and few leaders have risen to the challenge successfully. In countries with women leaders like New Zealand, Germany, Taiwan, and more, the quick and decisive actions of such leaders led to lower cases and death rates and showed progress in the most difficult of circumstances, “significantly better” than their male counterparts.

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However, even though COVID-19 has demonstrated the important role of women in leadership, according to the Council of Foreign Relations, only 21 women sit as head of state or government in 193 countries around the world. Even with the triumph of the first female vice president elected in the United States, and the election of female leaders in other governments, the situation and the numbers leave much to be desired.

Truly, there is much work to be done in 2021 and beyond. But, let us celebrate the small wins in 2020: Where women, both the known and the faceless, overcame challenges and made positive gains by empowering each other and taking up spaces in different sectors and areas of society. Women have truly set the stage for not just a “brighter year,” but a progressive and more hopeful future ahead.

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Taking up space—literally. While we are on the subject of “space,” allow me to introduce our organization, as we will literally be taking up this column space once a month. The Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN) was formed in 2017 as a network and consortium of six women’s business organizations, representing a broad section of sectors where women participate. We advocate the economic empowerment of women through initiatives that encompass a wide age and socioeconomic reach.

BPW Makati is a local chapter of the Business and Professional Women Foundation in the Philippines, which aims to increase women’s economic participation by developing the leadership competencies of professional Filipino women.

Filipina CEO Circle was established by Filipino women CEOs who rose through the ranks to lead large corporations in the country’s private sector. They hope to advance the status of women corporate leaders by providing a supportive network.

Network of Enterprising Women is made up of aspiring and existing women entrepreneurs aiming to strengthen women entrepreneurs through collaboration, helping the community, and practicing right business ethics.

SPARK Philippines is an advocacy NGO committed to the development of women and women’s organizations as full partners in national development.

Women’s Business Council Philippines Inc. is composed of the country’s top women business leaders and entrepreneurs. It serves as a platform for solutions to challenges women generally face in the conduct of their business.

Women Corporate Directors Philippines is the local chapter of a global organization that aims to increase the representation of women on boards and in board leadership positions.

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We hope that this space will help us communicate that the economic empowerment of women is not just the right thing to do, but is the smart thing to do. It is good for families, for the workplace, for businesses, for governance, for the economy, and for society.

In this space, we will share our insights, our experiences, our advocacies for women empowerment, diversity, and equality, with hopes of getting more people of all genders, from all walks of life, to join us.

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Ma. Aurora “Boots” D. Geotina-Garcia is the chairperson of the Philippine Women’s Economic Network.

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Women Who Lead is an initiative of the Philippine Women’s Economic Network.

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TAGS: Business and Professional Women Foundation, chief executive officer, Filipina CEO Circle, Philippine Women’s Economic Network, women
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