Digitalization and Gender Equality: Empowering Filipino Women In the Workplace and Communities

The rise of digital technologies has transformed how we live and work and created new opportunities for women to participate in the economy and society. In the Philippines, women face unique challenges in the workplace and in their communities, but they also possess a wealth of talent and potential that can be harnessed to drive growth and development.

This year’s Women’s Month theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” aims to empower Filipino women by providing them with the skills, resources, and support they need to succeed in the digital age.

In fact, PLDT Inc. and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) continue to champion women in the workplace and their communities, showcasing how they thrive in their careers, including those empowered by technology. Moreover, Gina P. Ordonez, Chief People Officer of PLDT and Smart, said, “we celebrate women—as hardworking members of the organization, leaders, mothers, wives, daughters, farmers, advocates, professionals, athletes, and talented individuals who contribute to the growth and development of the Filipino people.”

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Woman Weaver: Anecita Gemoya (Photo provided by PLDT and Smart)

Women’s Month, PLDT and Smart will feature inspiring stories of women who are making ripples and waves in their chosen fields or influencing their communities to use technology for good. PLDT and Smart’s commitment to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower women and girls is evident in the partnerships they have established with their communities. 

 In Negros Occidental, PLDT has partnered with the Community Crafts Association of the Philippines (CCAP) to support the General Luna Kapit-Bisig Association (GENLUKBA), a group of women weavers, by providing livelihood opportunities to mothers to help them send their children to school. Smart has also teamed up with several women-led organizations for the rollout of its education-focused Dynamic Learning Program in the provinces, Digital Farmers Program initiatives, disaster preparedness efforts, child protection projects, and mental health and wellness programs nationwide.  The PLDT group has also put in place a broad diversity and inclusion policy and adopted non-discriminatory and equal opportunity practices in the company. 

PLDT and Smart also supported social impact tech startup Connected Women, particularly in their Elevate Artificial Intelligence Data Annotation (AIDA) program, which led to job opportunities for stay-at-home moms or those who were laid off during the pandemic. Smart also provided additional training on how to become retail agents for mobile load to help them augment their income for their families

GEARS Campaign

Gender equality is high on the agenda of the group’s Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives as an equal-opportunity employer in the country. In 2021, PLDT and Smart became the first Philippine telcos to join the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE) to achieve large-scale organizational transformation through evidence-based strategies and best practices in the workplace.

To gain a deeper understanding of the opportunities and strengths of PLDT and Smart in relation to Workplace Gender Equality, PBCWE reviewed the company using the Gender Equality Assessment Results and Strategies (GEARS) and found out that the telco achieved a “Leading Practice” status on the following Focus Areas: mainstreaming flexible work for performance and support; professional development, mentoring, sponsorship; preventing and addressing gender-based harassment and discrimination, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.

Through GEARS, Smart also achieved “gender balance” in terms of recruitment and promotion processes at all levels of the organization, including a gender-balanced board. At the same time, the combined data of PLDT and Smart shows a high retention rate for both men and women — scoring above 90% standard in retention across all 5 levels of the organization. 

DigitALL for the win!

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As the world becomes increasingly digital, the need to empower women in the workforce and in their communities becomes more urgent than ever. These programs are just one example of the many initiatives that are helping to break down barriers and create opportunities for women in the Philippines and beyond.

We can unlock their full potential and drive sustainable economic growth and development by providing women with the tools and resources they need to succeed. As we look to the future, it is clear that empowering women is not just the right thing to do but the smart thing to do. Investing in women can create a more prosperous, equitable, and just society for all.

That’s what #genderequality and #womenempowerment are all about!