More women taking up tough jobs in increasingly ‘meritocratic’ environment

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PHILIPPINE workplaces are becoming more meritocratic with gender biases receding, People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) Executive Director Rene M. Gener said at the “Women Today” forum in Pasay City Tuesday.

“The workplace of the future will be dominated by the most competent in the office, regardless of gender. I can say that in the Philippines it’s happening,” Mr. Gener said.

Citing the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 issued by the World Economic Forum, Mr. Gener said: “We are already number eight and I see that in 2019, we will be number six, because we just work on competencies.”

Cignal TV and TV5 Network President and Chief Executive Officer Jane J. Basas said: “I believe so much in the principle of meritocracy, so it doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, or if you are a Gen-Xer, a boomer, or a millennial. At the end of the day, whoever can deliver and whoever can get the job done well, can get the job and will actually be rewarded in the process.”

The Philippine STAR, in partnership with Globe Telecom, Inc. and Women Influence Community Forum (WICF), organized the forum, which tackled issues that hinder the empowerment of female employees and leaders and how they could push for equality in their respective workplaces.

917 Ventures Managing Partner Issa G. Cabreira said male executives are “now giving women the tougher jobs.”

Ms. Basas concurred, saying: “Where I am now is actually because of my male mentors… My bosses gave me the job that I have right now because it’s the most difficult job to do. I mean TV5 has not been profitable for the past 10 years. Imagine handing that over to me and expecting me to create a plan that will work. And I tell you, I will do the job.”

Nina D. Aguas, executive chairman of Insular Life, noted that male company leaders have significantly changed their perception of their female counterparts.

“Things have changed. I think men are now more open to our ideas, and they are listening. They are very respectful, and they listen to what we say… It’s a welcome change for me,” she said.

Honorary Consul Armi L. Garcia of the Russian Federation in the Philippines said women bring a “sense of community, passion, love and intuition (to) the workplace.”

Mr. Gener noted that 49.6% of the Philippine workforce consists of women.

“If we do not nurture the talent of women, we are missing a lot. That’s why let’s help women lead the country and our organizations,” he said.

He also challenged the female members of society to “take on those jobs that are perceived to be dominated by men,” especially the manufacturing sector.

“I find that in the Philippines, we are very much privileged… we don’t have to fight the battle of ‘men are better than women’, it’s actually women side by side with men, driving the country towards where they want it to be,” Ms. Cabreira said.

Quezon City Mayor Maria Josefina G. Belmonte cited the need “to help our girls finish their education, have adequate health care, and… start their own enterprises.”

Manila Mayor Francisco Moreno Domagoso also highlighted the importance of “improving education, health care, and housing” as a way to help women.

“Women today have no limits and have more options. They can put up a business especially now with social media and the Internet,” Happy Skin co-founder Rissa Mananquil-Trillo said.

Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, who recently accepted leadership of the anti-drug war, said: “Perhaps it was my instinct as a mother… that I needed to do this sacrifice for the greater good.”

“Remember you are made for times like these, and you are made to survive even the most difficult times,” she said.

“We all need the kind of strength that draws from a deep well of love, compassion, humility, courage, and integrity.” — Arjay L. Balinbin