Through the years, Women’s Month has served as a strong platform to celebrate women’s achievements and facilitate discussions on empowerment and gender equality.
In line with this year’s theme, SPARK! Philippines, a non-government organization (NGO) that champions causes for women, hosted “#Women2023: Women Forging the Digital Future” together with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, the Embassy of France in the Philippines and Micronesia, the Philippine Commission on Women and FEU Institute of Technology.
The event pooled together various key opinion leaders, policy makers and power women who shared their insights, best practices and plans in navigating the digital space to advocate for diversity and inclusion.
Digital media as an empowerment tool
Digitalization has played a huge role in transforming our society. Depending on how it’s used, online platforms can help the cause or exacerbate existing gender issues and concerns.
At #Women2023, several prominent women shared how digital media can help improve women’s lives. One of them is Google Philippines Country Director Bernadette Nacario who talked about Digiskarteng Pinay, a digital upskilling program of the company.
Under this initiative, Google publishes bite-sized YouTube videos targeted for women around different topics such as career, entrepreneurship, health and financial literacy.
“We have this belief that when we uplift women, we uplift the entire household, which eventually impacts the society. And the way to do that is to empower women to acquire new skills even at the comfort of their home,” Nacario said.
With this, digital media can be a powerful tool in supporting women to pursue their aspirations, whether that’s being a homemaker, having a corporate career or putting up a business.
Technology for social equity
Pushing for social change is a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors. Part of this ecosystem are social enterprises committed to drive positive change through their ventures.
One such organization is Rags2Riches (R2R), a fashion & design house that empowers and celebrates the country’s local artisans. Rags2Riches President and Founding Partner Reese Fernandez-Ruiz credits the company’s early adoption of digital technology in R2R’s success.
She noted that years before the pandemic, the company had already established an online store and presence in social media channels. She added that their willingness to participate in the digital landscape early on helped them grow their business–in numbers and in branding.
“So the lesson for us is to learn ahead of the need to—when you learn something when you need to, it might be too late. As early as now, I encourage you to look into the available digital tools and don’t be scared of them—try them out and see how you can use them in the future,” she said.
By women, for women
The fight for gender equality and women empowerment does not stop this month. It will require consistent and synergistic efforts from the community. #Women2023 encourages women to support fellow women to reach for their goals and embrace digital innovations as instruments for change.
“This year’s International Women’s Day theme calls on all of us to wield innovation and technology in promoting and championing gender equality. Digital media presents boundless opportunities for us, women. Let us learn it, embrace it, and use it well,” FEU Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Maria Teresa Trinidad Tinio said.