WOMEN EMPOWERMENT. Panelists take turns in talking in a forum entitled “Breaking Barriers: Women Entrepreneurs in Asia and the Pacific” initiated by the Asian Development Bank in its headquarters in Ortigas Center on Thursday (May 3, 2018). Photo by Ma. Cristina Arayata
MANILA -- Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao is rallying for women empowerment in business, saying this has been among the bank’s agenda.
“How can women do as much as men can do, or even better?” he asked in a seminar during the 51st ADB annual meeting at the ADB headquarters in Ortigas Center on Thursday. “At ADB, for instance, we are trying to encourage women’s involvement in infrastructure. We encourage them to go to work.”
Nakao said ADB targets to have 40 percent of its staff composed of women. “We have already achieved 35 percent. We need role models,” he said.
In a video it presented in the seminar, the regional development bank said increasing opportunities for women would add billions to the economy. Women must be provided with capital, is stressed.
The ADB on Thursday conducted a seminar entitled “Breaking Barriers: Women Entrepreneurs in Asia and the Pacific”.
Here, the panelists, mostly women, shared their observations and their own experiences.
For Yumiko Noda, president of Veolia Japan K.K., she noticed that while Japan is a very advanced country, “it is kind of left behind in terms of women diversity”, although it is somewhat improving in this regard.
For panelist Zenaida Maglaya, Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary, there is a need for more awareness of their capabilities.
The availability of information and access to information are quite lacking, she added.
Maglaya also cited the lack of confidence among some women.
“There are men who don’t allow their wives to do business in their homes. Thus, we need to bring in facilities, so women could do business in their homes, so they will not need to leave their kids at home,” she said.
Globally, there are about 100 countries that limit the kinds of job for women, according to International Labor Organization Director Graeme Buckley.
Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs president, Rokia Afzal Rahman, shared that the government of Bangladesh is supportive.
“Banks have opened windows for women. There’s also free education for girls up to age 12,” Rahman shared.
“Women need the chance to prove themselves,” noted Rahman.
Maglaya remarked that women are more passionate in what they do, and are more willing to learn.
Giving women a better chance also means they should be provided with better access to capital, said Buckley.
Women also need role models and mentors, emphasized Noda.
Fransiska Hadiwidjana, chief executive officer of Prelo, an Indonesian enterprise offering retail sharing e-platform, also noted that entrepreneurs need mentors.
“I’ve been mentored when I was starting, and so I started mentoring other entrepreneurs as well,” she said.
The ADB chief, for his part, said we need to have a more friendly society. (PNA)
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