ECOP, PhilWEN, ILO launch Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP)  launched the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee to promote gender equality in the workplace. ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. and Vice President Diana Pardo-Aguilar led the launch held on 12 August 2021.

“Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace has always been a long-standing vision of ECOP. We have been pushing for the promotion of workplace gender equality and fair treatment of workers, by ensuring that companies comply with labor laws and standards, and even international instruments,” said Mr Ortiz-Luis, Jr.

The ECOP President further emphasized the important role of the D&I Committee in leading and overseeing all the initiatives that are paramount to promoting gender equality and creating a safe workplace for all by implementing company policies and practices that espouse the essence of diversity and inclusion. “Alongside the establishment of this committee is the hope of ECOP to encourage companies to become more aware on how to create a safe workplace for its employees”, he added.

Ms Ma. Aurora ‘Boots’ Geotina-Garcia of the Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN), Ms. Julia Abad of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE), and Mr Khalid Hassan, Director of the International Labour Organization joined the launch of the D&I Committee and extended their support.

A signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between ECOP and PhilWEN was a key highlight of the launch. The agreement aims to promote the cause of Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace, in policy and in practice. The ILO through the Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Programme supported the partnership and initiative for a more diverse, and inclusive workplace.

“We, in PhilWEN and PBCWE, are proud to officially and formally launch the ECOP Diversity & Inclusion committee. Through this launch, ECOP recognizes that D&I is a critical component of any recovery and sustainability plan given that many women, whether employees or entrepreneurs have been severely impacted by what initially started as a health crisis but has now become a severe economic crisis. Thus, it is timely that through this committee, ECOP will initiate programs to assist its members navigate the crisis facing their female employees and female entrepreneurs,” said Ms. Garcia, PhilWEN Chair and PBCWE Co-Chair.

“Employers indeed play a crucial role to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect for all, free from violence and harassment. Women workers and women business owners face the additional burden of increased and uneven share of unpaid care work at home. This underscores the need for a gender-responsive recovery,” said Director Khalid Hassan of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.

The pioneer companies which manifested their interest in joining the Committee were also acknowledged during the event. These are Cargill Philippines, Inc., CB&I Philippines Inc., Globe Telecom, Inc., Laguna Metts Corporation, Nestle Philippines Inc., Pearson Management Services Philippines Inc., Punongbayan and Araullo, and Wilhemsen-Smith Bell Manning, Inc.

To cap off the event, D&I Committee Chair Pardo-Aguilar reiterated the call to action to business leaders to join the move towards creating positive change to the business community and ensure a conducive and safe work environment for all workers, regardless of sex, gender, age, origin, ability, and status. “I am very eager to witness employers’ willingness to become 21st Century leaders – one who is progressive and open to adapt to changes around her/him”, she said.

For companies interested in joining ECOP’s D&I Committee, the first step is by signing up to the call to action.