Last March 16, 2023, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) gave the spotlight to Filipina champions that redefine the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) for its second installment of the 4-part webinar series organized by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (D&I) entitled, “Women in STEM and Striking Gender Balance in the Workforce.”

In a message of support, Ms. Anne Vauchez, Chair of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) Policy Working Group (PWG) on Gender Equality and Diversity, highlighted the role of employers to achieve and ensure proper representation of women at work especially in male-dominated industries in reiterating the importance of maintaining gender balance in the workplace. Chief Operating Officer Deirdre Conde started the conversation by giving insights in terms of the decision-making of the Filipino youth on their education and specific career paths they want to pursue. She also discussed what has been doing to help continue to empower Filipinas to increase visibility and representation in the media and within organizations, as well as breaking gender stereotypes which fosters a safe space environment for young women and girls for career exploration and development.

Being a woman of STEM herself, Robotics Adviser and Data Analyst Vianca Jasmin Anglo shed light on the current status of STEM and what opportunities the private sector can have for women to enter the field. Moreover, she featured faces of Filipina women trailblazers in the field that women and young girls can look up to. She also tackled how FELTA Multi-Media Inc. encourages children to know about robotics and bolster up their creativity.

For the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, it has been noted that there are 1.57 million employees in the Information Technology and Business Process Management  (IT-BPM) industry and 55% of those are women. Aside from the numbers presented by Ms. Olive Ybanez, her presentation focused on the intentional work  that Teleperformance Philippines does in crafting policies, processes, and programs that allow and give equal access for both genders to flourish in the organization.

As a lifetime advocate of women and girls in STEM and entrepreneurship, former National Project Coordinator of two women empowerment programs in the International Labour Organization (ILO) – the Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Programme and the Rebuilding Better, Fostering Business Resilience Post-COVID-19 Programme for Women Entrepreneurs Program – Ms. Linartes Viloria emphasized how it is important for the role of women in science to be included in the conversation as new forces such as technology and new skills are already transforming the world of work.

This year’s theme of the United Nations in celebration of the International Women’s Day is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, which revolves on innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and empowerment. This not only provides opportunities for women but also makes sure that women are enjoying the benefits of technology. It is undeniable that we, as a community, have done tremendous work over the past years in increasing visibility of women role models in the field of STEM. There has been a bigger consciousness of the movement as we celebrate women’s month every year. But this still needs to continue as we usher in the 21st century workforce.