11 May 2017
Grand Prince New Takanawa Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, 11 May 2017
Good morning everyone. It is such a privilege to have been invited by Irene, who is from my own country, to participate in this conference.
From the past 27 years, this is the first time I’m attending this, and I’m excited not only to meet everyone else, but to also share the successes we’ve had in the Philippines, as far as pushing for gender equality is concerned.
At the present, the Philippines is 7th out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Index, and I think that’s a huge success, considering that I think we’re the only country in the Asia-Pacific who is in the top ten.
I have here this morning some of our government officials we are all really proud of, there’s our former Foreign Minister Delia Albert, seated on your, in front of you, and there’s also one official from the Department of Agriculture Jocelyn Badiola.
Irene was telling us earlier that the Philippines is sending a 35-man delegation this time, that’s rather huge as far as the Philippines is concerned.
But despite the successes we’ve had, I’m the second woman Vice President of my country, we’ve had two women Presidents in the past. If I’m not mistaken, there are about 38% women in leadership positions in our country, a little short of our target of 40%.
That’s not just as far as the government is concerned, but also as far as leadership positions in private companies are concerned.
But having said that, while we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved as far as pushing for gender equality’s concerned, the topics or the forum this morning is also very appropriate in as far as the challenges we still face.
Earlier this morning, Norika and I were talking, what are the big challenges in the Philippines still, as far as women are concerned? And I was telling her we still have a lot of women who do not have enough access to economic opportunities.
That is why while we’re very excited to share our successes in the Philippines, we’re also excited to learn from the experiences of everyone of you, the best practices of the countries here insofar as providing for more economic opportunities for women.
The main topic for the discussion in this ministerial roundtable is private-public partnerships, in giving access to women opportunities. This is very appropriate.
I am not sure if you are familiar with the political make up in the Philippines. But in the Philippines the Vice President may not come from the same party as the President, because we’re voted directly and our constitution does not give any particular role to the Vice President other than be the support of the president.
And because of that political reality, when I assumed office last year, one of the flagship programs, or the main flagship program that we’ve launched at the Office of the Vice President is an anti-poverty program. A six-point anti-poverty program wherein one pillar is really devoted to women empowerment, very specifically, women economic empowerment, because we feel that this is very crucial in pushing for greater gender equality amongst us.
I was informed earlier that I should not yet talk in great detail about the subject of my speech tonight, but you know, I’m very excited to meet everyone.
Congratulations to Irene and the entire team, also to Noriko, thank you for the hard work you’ve all poured in this conference.
We are looking forward to great discussions in the coming days.