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adobo SheCreative Conference 2024: Senator Loren Legarda on empowering women in creative fields to enable the shift to a greener economy

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — “In a diminishing home planet, we cannot separate women’s rights from the rights of nature,” proclaimed Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Loren Legarda during her keynote address at the 2024 adobo SheCreative Conference. “I always think that the gender issue is also a climate issue. Nature and women and family, inclusivity, sustainability — that’s all interwoven together.”

Sen. Loren’s words kicked off an afternoon of insightful talks from some of the creative industries’ most inspiring women at the adobo SheCreative Conference. The event was held last March 26, 2024 at Shangri-La The Fort, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, and was centered around the theme “Forging a Sustainable Future for Creativity”. 

With disruption happening faster than we can handle, adobo Magazine declared 2024 to be The Year of Creative Sustainability, where the publication would be exploring ways to build a more stable foundation for the creative economy. The adobo SheCreative Conference was a major step towards finding those solutions, as women are often found leading the charge in this movement. Sen. Loren Legarda, a longtime champion of women’s rights, Filipino arts & culture, and the environment, shared how these advocacies were all intertwined in the pursuit of a better future.

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“In a diminishing home planet, we cannot separate women’s rights from the rights of nature,” she shared. “I always think that the gender issue is also a climate issue. Nature and women and family, inclusivity, sustainability — that’s all interwoven together.”

“When we empower our women economically — on a big, or even small, micro, nano scale — we can also integrate their participation in our aim to shift to a green economy.”

Sen. Loren spoke on the impact of the creative industries on the Philippine economy, citing a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority that found that creativity contributed PHP 1.7 trillion to the economy, or 7.1% of national GDP. And with 7.26 million persons employed by creative industries, women in creative fields can play a significant role in realizing a future that’s sustainable for both creative workers and the environment at large.

SheCreative Conference 2024 INTERVIEWS Article SEN LOREN LEGARDA insert 4

She talked about the revival of the patadyong as an example of the far-reaching effects that the creative industries can have on society. The skirt, a traditional garment from the senator’s hometown in Antique, saw increased support from the government and private sectors beginning in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Growth in the production of the patadyong led to an increase in organic cotton farms and the cultivation of plants that provided eco-friendly dyes. 

Not only did the efforts around the patadyong lead to a boost in local agriculture, but it provided a stable source of income for the local economy while preserving a traditional art. And none of this would have been possible without empowering the women weavers at the heart of the tradition.

“In whatever field we are in, we must weave together sustainability and the creative industry. And arts and culture is probably the soul of the creative industry,” Sen. Loren said.

She also highlighted the need to listen to women when it comes to building a sustainable future for creativity, and to take on a more feminine point of view when creating economic solutions that benefit the environment:

“We are learning the hard way that, with the way that women have borne the burden of running our homes, humanity should take on a feminine mantle and bear the burden of running the planet. Hence, humanity has to learn from the experience and the unique perspective of women in the care of oikos, the home — the root word for both ecosystem and economy.”

Sen. Loren shared more of her views on how government and the private sector can work together better in empowering the creative industries in this exclusive interview with adobo Magazine held at the SheCreative Conference:

The adobo SheCreative Conference 2024: Forging a Sustainable Future for Creativity was co-presented by Unilever and in partnership with Future Proof.

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