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She for She: Women in Business Forum shines the spotlight on gender equality, 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 of 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 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@ccifrance- philippines.org (email) or 831-6374 (phone).

Main photo: (from left to right) Vanessa Hans, Managing Director of CCI France-Philippines; Gail Bantiling, Head of Design and Construction Management Division of Trends and Concepts Total Interior Solutions; Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, 1stDistrict Representative-Bataan; Rombit Co, Senior VP and Co-Head International Desk- BDO Unibank Inc.; Janet Patricia Webster-Watson, Chairperson of Investors in People; Rocio Olbes Ressano, ‘Femmes du Monde’ Representative Philippines; Malou Espina, VP for Marketing and Communications-Total Philippines; Isabelle Nilo, President of CCI France- Philippines; and Stephanie Carrette, Program Manager of Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines.

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