PCW, UN summit at SM amplifies call to invest in women to drive progress

Keynote speaker Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda (third from left) with from right: SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, UN Women Country Programme Coordinator Rosalyn Mesina, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Officer-in-Charge Atty. Khay Ann Magundayao-Borlado and Deputy Executive Director Kristine Balmes, and moderator Bernadette Sembrano

Women’s rights advocates and gender equality champions gathered at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura recently for an International Women’s Day (IWD) summit spearheaded by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and UN Women, in partnership with SM Supermalls.

SM Supermalls President Steven Tan (right), Singapore-based She Loves Tech co-founder Leanne Robers (third from right), UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez (second from left), Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Officer-in-Charge Atty. Khay Ann Magundayao-Borlado (third from left), UN Women Country Programme Coordinator Rosalyn Mesina (left), and Bernadette Sembrano (second from right)

Anchored on the global theme, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,’ the one-day summit covered crucial topics such as poverty alleviation, institutional strengthening, gender-inclusive financing, and the role of technology in enabling women, particularly entrepreneurs.


(L-R): SM Supermalls Senior Vice President for Marketing Joaquin San Agustin, SM Prime Holdings Assistant Vice President and Program Director Jessica Sy, Singapore-based She Loves Tech co-founder Leanne Robers, SM Supermalls Vice President for Corporate Marketing Grace Magno, UN Women Country Programme Coordinator Rosalyn Mesina, SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Officer-in-Charge Atty. Khay Ann Magundayao-Borlado, and SM Vice President for Corporate Compliance Engr. Liza Silerio

Opening the summit were SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez, PCW Officer-in-Charge Atty. Khay Ann Magundayao-Borlado, and UN Women Country Programme Coordinator Rosalyn Mesina, whose messages also served as a unifying call to action for the advancement of women’s empowerment and equality towards nation-building.


SM Supermalls President Steven Tan


UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez

Keynote speaker Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda spoke about the role of legislation in promoting women’s rights. She highlighted the burden of unpaid care and domestic work by women, which her bill (Unpaid Care Workers Welfare Act of 2022) seeks to address to ensure fair sharing of household and caregiving duties. Senator Legarda’s legislative efforts have included supporting the passage of crucial laws like the Magna Carta of Women and the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act, among others.


Keynote speaker Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda

For an international perspective, esteemed panelists Australian Ambassador HK Yu, Canadian Ambassador David Hartman, UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran, International Labour Organization Country Director Khalid Hassan, and Asian Development Bank Director Samantha Hung spurred insightful discussions on championing women through their gender-inclusive development programs in the Philippines.


Australian Ambassador HK Yu (third from right), Canadian Ambassador David Hartman (right), UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran (second from left), International Labour Organization Country Director Khalid Hassan (left), and Asian Development Bank Director Samantha Hung (third from left), with Rissa Mananquil Trillo (second from right)

On the Philippines’ efforts, experts from key government agencies – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Atty. Charina De Vera Yap, Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Anna Liza Bonagua, UPPAF Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development’s Jeanne Frances Illo, Philippine Commission on Women’s Anita Baleda, Commission on Audit’s Fortunata Rubico, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Miramel Garcia-Laxa – shared transformative strategies and outcomes of financing through a gender lens and gender-responsive budgeting.


(L-R): Philippine Commission on Women’s Anita Baleda, UPPAF Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development’s Jeanne Frances Illo, Commission on Audit’s Fortunata Rubico, and Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Miramel Garcia-Laxa

Guest speaker, Singapore-based She Loves Tech co-founder, Leanne Robers, set the tone for sessions on the pivotal role of technology in advancing women’s empowerment in business.


Singapore-based She Loves Tech co-founder, Leanne Robers

Robers highlighted the importance of women’s diverse perspectives in technology. She said, “We cannot understate the benefits of a world where women are involved in shaping our future through technology.”

The sessions highlighted how businesses can leverage technology to bridge gender gaps and promote social change. Panelists Anne Emperado-Macababat (Malanne), Eliza Antonino (Moment Group), and creative and social entrepreneur Zarah Juan, served as a testament to empowered women creating livelihood opportunities to uplift the lives of many more women.


Singapore-based She Loves Tech co-founder, Leanne Robers (left), Anne Emperado-Macababat of Malanne (second from right), Eliza Antonino of Moment Group (third from left), and creative and social entrepreneur Zarah Juan (second from left), with UN Women Champion Bianca Gonzalez (right)

Likewise, a panel discussion with Landbank’s Leila Martin, BDO Unibank’s Atty. Federico Tancongco and Joel Andres, and Connected Women’s Gina Romero helped participants navigate the benefits and challenges of technology, addressing the risks of fraud and scams, and the safety and security of financial transactions.


Landbank’s Leila Martin (third from left), BDO Unibank’s Atty. Federico Tancongco (left) and Joel Andres (second from right), Connected Women’s Gina Romero (second from left), and UN Women Champion Bianca Gonzalez (right)

Capping the summit was SM Prime Holdings, Inc. Assistant Vice President and Program Director Jessica Sy who reiterated the theme of the summit in her closing remarks. Sy said, “Investing in women is not just a moral imperative, but a strategic imperative for a better world.”


SM Prime Holdings, Inc. Assistant Vice President and Program Director Jessica Sy


Actress and film producer Bella Padilla

The IWD summit is one of the highlights of SM Supermalls’ celebration of Women’s Month this March and was also supported by BDO, Belle du Jour, Brittany Hotel, Brownies Unlimited, Crate & Barrel, Toby’s Estate, Goldilocks, and SM Store.

 

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