7 September 2018, Makati City, Philippines –
Many people have come to believe that gender equality is only a women’s issue as most gender initiatives continue to emphasize only the empowerment of women and many times, men are not invited to participate in gender equality programs. If they are, they are often unsure how to be supportive. However, if we want a gender equal society, gender equality advocacies, which engage only women is not enough. Men must also be involved in this advocacy.
To explore ways to make the gender equality advocacy in business a more inclusive undertaking, the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE), Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN) and the Makati Business Club (MBC), teamed up to introduce Male Champions of Change (MCC), an Australian organization that works with influential leaders to redefine men’s role in taking action on gender inequality. The partners recently organized a discussion among Filipino male CEOs on the issues around workplace gender equality that resonate with them and that they would be keen to advocate and speak about. The discussion was facilitated by MCC CEO Annika Freyer.
The participants of the roundtable discussion last Friday, September 7, 2018, represented a diverse group of CEOs, Country Heads, and Business leaders, coming from different industries, who contributed to a rich discussion on workplace policies and initiatives that promote gender equality and increase the participation of women in the workforce.
“Male Champions play a critical role in changing mindsets and breaking gender stereotypes in society and we need the rest of the male population to recognise that women’s participation is an essential complement and component to leadership, especially in business,” said Ma. Aurora “Boots” D. Geotina-Garcia, Chairperson of PhilWEN and Co-Chairperson of PBCWE.
Ambassador Amanda Gorely, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, was also in attendance and shared that she is also keen on bringing the organization to work with Male CEOs here in the Philippines. “When we talk about gender equality, of course we don’t just mean exclusively to benefit either gender,” said Ambassador Gorely. “It takes both women and men to shape a more gender-equal world, whether at home or at the workplace.”
The discussions were very informative and set the right direction in using an untapped resource: Men are a great and necessary resource in advancing leadership opportunities for women in the workplace. From potential business success to growth for both women and men, everyone benefits when men are brought in as partners in creating a gender-inclusive workplace.
“MBC recognizes the importance of diversity in business, and this roundtable discussion is the first step towards advocating the need to support women in leadership positions, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it is good for business,” said Edgar O. Chua, Chairperson of the Makati Business Club.
PhilWEN, PBCWE, and MBC hope to establish a Male Champions of Change organisation here in the Philippines and encourage more men to to support and join the gender equality advocacy, and ultimately recognize women as essential complements and equals, at home, at work, and in society.
The Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE) was launched in March 2017 through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funded Investing in Women (IW) initiative. In the Philippines, IW has partnered with the Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN) to create a business coalition to pursue Gender Equality (GE) in the workplace and Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) nationwide.
PBCWE is made up of influential businesses that are large employers who will take the appropriate steps to improve gender equity in their own workplaces and to influence businesses, both in their supply chains and other large businesses, and to also become better employers of women. PBCWE’s founding members are Accenture, Ayala, Convergys, Magsaysay Group of Companies, Natasha, SGV and Co.,and SSI Group.
About Makati Business Club
The Makati Business Club is a private non-stock, non-profit business association organized as a Forum for Constructive Ideas. The main thrust of MBC is to foster and promote the role of the business sector in national development efforts through policy advocacy, investment promotion, responsible business advocacy, and corporate citizenship initiatives. It is committed to addressing national economic and social issues that affect the sustainable development of the country.