Cebu eyed for women empowerment initiative

CEBU, Philippines – The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) is eyeing replicating in Cebu and other places in the Philippines a project that brought together in Manila young women leaders and experts in different fields to strengthen women’s participation in addressing issues that affect them.

Organized in time for Women’s Month last month, the Young Women Leader’s Initiative is a crucial sub-project of the AECID-funded program on the Implementation of the Magna Carta of Women. It is aimed at sustaining the country’s gains in addressing women’s issues and in creating a network of empowered young women.

“We believe it would be a great program to follow not only in Cebu but in other local government units. It is one of the best ways for intergenerational exchange and for bridging the gap between women who currently hold powerful positions and for young women who have the potential to continue the legacies that these women have built,” said Jenny Lind Elmaco, project manager at PCW. 

During the two-day conference, the participants crafted the “Young Women Manifesto,” something that Elmaco said will give them a direct voice and soft influence on issues that matters to young women. What is significant about the manifesto, Elmaco said, is that it was created by young women who have a grasp of local issues, especially gender and development issues in their communities.

While we have had gains in putting women in decision-making positions, governance still needs more women. Also, the current momentum of women empowerment in the country must be sustained and this can be done through empowering the next generation, Elmaco said.

During the conference, the participants were given a chance to listen to women who have made a difference in their respective professions and they were given a chance to craft a collective proposal to address gender and development (GAD) issues. They were also asked to identify the biggest GAD issues in their community and propose concrete approaches on how to address them.

“When they go back, these women will become active members of the technical working group on the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women and also be active in activating their proposed projects,” Elmaco said.

Elmaco explained that participants in the pilot conference came from provinces in Luzon and the National Capital Region because these are the sites with AECID funded projects at present. This, however, does not limit the commission from bringing the project to other sites like Cebu.

With the theme “Leading Change on a Straight Path to Endangered Governance,” the pilot conference in Manila had women leaders from the government, arts and media, social development and business sectors who served as mentors.

The mentors included Hon. Chiyo Kanda, deputy country director of the World Bank; Nora Pinzon, acting office chief of the Program Resources Management Office of the US Agency for International Development; Hon. Julia Andrea Abad, chief of the Presidential Management Staff; Undersecretary Lesley Jeanne Cordero of Presidential Communications Operations Office; Victoria Pineda Garchitorena, former Ayala Foundation President; Aurora Geotina-Garcia, president of CIBA Capital and Women’s Business Council; Claire Delfin, multi-awarded broadcast journalist of GMA Network; Commissioner Raida Bansil-Maglangit of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos; Niña Rica Terol Zialcita, president and deputy editor of; Luzviminda Villanueva, project manager of the  Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT) Women Project; Bai Rohaniza Usman, country director of Asia-American Initiative; Maxine Tanya Hamada, executive director of INCITEGov; and  Thelma Gecolea of the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines.

Source: Philippine Star