PLDT and Smart pioneer telco members of esteemed gender equality business coalition

29 October 2021 – Reinforcing the Group’s push for workplace diversity and gender equality as part of the Social pillar of its ESG program, the Philippines’ largest integrated telecommunications company PLDT, Inc. (PSE:TEL) (NYSE: PHI), along with its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), are the first two Philippine telcos that signed up as members of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE).

PBCWE was established in 2017 as an inaugural project of the Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN), in partnership with Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government. PLDT and Smart join the other large and influential companies in leading efforts towards achieving large-scale organizational transformation through evidence-based strategies, creating knowledge on best practices in the workplace, communicating the benefits of empowering women in the workforce, and institutionalizing policies based on best practices.

“The Coalition serves as a collective voice to drive improvements in workplace gender equality within companies and across industries. We are proud that PLDT and Smart promote diversity and inclusion that will help them to better understand their customer base and develop customer-focused products, services, and initiatives. Their memberships reinforce the group-wide push to promote equal opportunity and a safe working environment for all,” says PhilWEN Chairperson and PBCWE Co-Chairperson, Ma. Aurora “Boots” Geotina-Garcia.

“We take pride in being an equal opportunity employer that cultivates an inclusive culture. This will, among others, help us attract and further develop an employee talent base that will generate a broad spectrum of ideas which captures the diversity of the many communities in which we operate,” says Gina P. Ordonez, Chief People Officer at PLDT and Smart.

“Gender equality is institutionalized in our workplace diversity policy and has allowed us to develop transformational leaders. By enabling everyone to thrive and reach their full potential, we inspire our community at large to create a better world,” Ordonez adds.

“Women representation is evident in PLDT and Smart’s governance structure and leadership team.  11 (58%) of the 19 direct reports to the PLDT CEO which constitute the Group’s Management Committee are women, while 40% of the company’s Officers are female. Of thirteen Board members, three (23%) are women. The PLDT Group pursues goals to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace and consistently implements its policies on Board Diversity and Non-Discrimination which are aligned with our sustainability initiatives,” said Melissa Vergel de Dios, Head of PLDT’s Sustainability Office.

An indication of how conducive the workplace is to working mothers; from 2018 to 2020, company records show that the return rate of female employees who had gone on maternity leave and stayed on in PLDT and Smart after their leave ended ranged from 97% to 99%. The company also provides additional support to employees through its Solo Parent Leave Policy in accordance with Republic Act 8972 otherwise known as the Solo Parent Welfare Act.

In March 2021, the company celebrated International Women’s Month through the internal campaign Yes, She Can! Activities included a webinar with PBCWE to discuss the growing importance of workplace gender equality and diversity and inclusion as key drivers of business success. Furthermore, the Group also celebrated the International LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June 2021 through a campaign entitled PLDT and Smart Pride: #EveryoneIsIncluded aimed at raising awareness and promoting acceptance of LGBTQ+ employees, demonstrating the companies’ diversity and echoing the message that every individual is valued. [END]