MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Nine Philippines-based companies championing gender equality and women’s empowerment were recognized at the 2021 Philippines Women Empowerment Principles (WEP) Awards by UN Women and the European Union, which distinguish outstanding initiatives and practices that promote gender inclusivity in the business sector. These winners will go on to compete at the regional WEP Awards, to be held in Bangkok on 18th November 2021.
This year’s awardees are a mix of representatives from large companies, small and mid-size businesses, and social enterprises, demonstrating the importance of ensuring gender equality in every sector. The following are the proud champions in each category:
- Community Engagement and Partnerships – Shell companies in the Philippines
- Gender-inclusive Workplace – Procter & Gamble Philippines, Inc.
- Gender-responsive Marketplace – Bayo Manila Inc.
- Leadership Commitment – Ms. Lynette Ortiz, CEO and President of Standard Chartered Bank
- Youth Leadership (under 35) – Ms. Cherrie Atilano, CEO and Founding Farmer of AGREA Agricultural System International Inc.
- Transparency and Reporting – Philippine National Bank
- SME Community Engagement and Partnerships – EdukasyonPH
- SME Gender-responsive Marketplace – Villgro Philippines
- SME Leadership Commitment – Ms. Felicitas Pantoja, Coffee for Peace
During a roundtable forum facilitated by UN Women advocate and broadcast journalist Karen Davila, the winners discussed the importance of placing women at the forefront of solving social issues. Leaders and companies, no matter the size have important roles to play in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“We at Standard Chartered Bank believe in equal opportunities for all. Being an inclusive employer and business is fundamental to our strategy and our purpose, ‘Driving commerce and prosperity though our unique diversity,’” shared Standard Chartered Bank Chief Executive Officer Lynette V. Ortiz.
Lorelei Osial, Shell in the Philippines’s Vice-President for Finance Operations, shared the company’s determination to challenge these stereotypes and broaden perceptions. “The energy sector is often perceived as a male-dominated industry, and so it is important that women have career development opportunities and know they will be empowered as they pursue them. At Shell companies in the Philippines, we are proud to share that we have more than achieved the 50-50 ratio. A full 59 per cent of our employees are females. Meanwhile, the number of women in leadership positions has steadily increased through the years; peaking at 39 per cent in 2019. This is indicative that our local leadership truly reflects the gender balance we aspire for.”
For Youth Leadership awardee Cherrie Atilano, it is crucial to design with intentionality in ensuring women are always included. “Women are at the frontline of economic and extreme weather impacts. This makes it very important that we include women in securing our food system. Investment in women is an investment in the whole community. It demands a lot of nurturing spirit to change the narrative of agriculture and turn it into a sector that will make our country progressive.”
As founder of a company that advocates peace, Felicitas Pantoja of Coffee for Peace believes women have the unique ability to nurture harmonious relationships using the lens of peace. “My journey with people seeking peace in their land prompted me to do something that will be sustainable for peace and our farmers. We want to create a space that provides equal opportunities for women, not only addressing gender issues but also ethnicity issues for indigenous and Bangsamoro women. I can open windows and doors and help amplify their voices.”
Bayo Manila, a company that is composed of 80 percent women, was one of the local companies that responded to COVID-19 by creating and providing personal protective equipment for healthcare workers at the start of the pandemic. “Our platform champions the values of what women can do to make a significant difference in achieving positive change within our company and the communities that we support. Signing the commitment for the Women Empowerment Principles solidifies our intention to contribute to making a better society,” said Chief Executive Anna Marie Lagon.
With Procter and Gamble leading this year’s awardees in Gender Inclusive workplace where they strive to provide equal access and opportunity for all to succeed, provide a safe and inclusive environment for everyone to be their authentic self and enable all employees to perform at their peak. Philippine National Bank CEO and President on the other hand aims to promote social inclusion and gender equality in business and operations by consciously integrating gender lens in their lending or financing, financing or refinancing projects that aim to improve social inclusion and by supporting CSR initiatives and activities that promote gender equality.
The WEPs or Women’s Empowerment Principles were developed by UN Women and UN Global Compact to provide guiding principles for businesses to achieve an equal, inclusive and sustainable future.
This year’s WEP Awards was supported by Investing in Women and the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment.
For the complete list of all the winners for the 2021 Philippines WEPs Awards see below:
|2021 Philippines WEPs Award Winners|
|Community Engagement and Partnerships||Shell companies in the Philippines||Champion|
|Fujitsu Global Delivery Center Philippines (WeServ Systems International, Inc.)||1st Runner up|
|Bayo Manila Inc.||2nd Runner up|
|Gender-inclusive Workplace||Procter & Gamble Philippines, Inc.||Champion|
|Nestlé Philippines, Inc.||1st Runner up|
|Accenture, Inc.||2nd Runner up|
|Gender-responsive Marketplace||Bayo Manila Inc.||Champion|
|Kultura Store Inc.||1st Runner up|
|Leadership Commitment||Standard Chartered Bank||Champion|
|The Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd.||1st Runner up|
|Executive Genesis Services Inc.||2nd Runner up|
|Youth Leadership (under 35)||AGREA Agricultural System International Inc.||Champion|
|Equilife Medical Equipment Supplies & Services Inc.||1st Runner up|
|InBestCap Ventures Holdings Inc.||2nd Runner up|
|Transparency and Reporting||Philippine National Bank||Champion|
|SME – Champions|
|Community Engagement and Partnerships||Edukasyon PH||Champion|
|Gender-responsive Marketplace||Villgro Philippines||Champion|
|Leadership Commitment||Coffee for Peace||Champion|