It may be hard to believe, but the Philippines ranked 10th out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Index. This means that we’re supposedly one of the most gender equal countries in the world. But whether you believe that or not, the fact is that there are still many Filipinas who are held back by social and cultural norms in school, homes, and the workplace.
This overlooked struggle is the reason why the EdTech startup, Edukasyon.ph, has started to take action in bridging the gender gap. They’ve partnered with Australian government initiative Investing in Women (IW) that aims to empower young girls to break barriers and promote equality by way of education and career.
Edukasyon.ph’s campaign will help guide young girls in making the right school and career decisions through talks about college, work, and entrepreneurship.
Last August 17 at the BGC Arts Center, both Edukasyon.ph and IW kickstarted their powerful campaign: Investing in the Future of Young Pinays. This campaign is all about empowering girls nationwide by guiding them in school to be able to do more and explore more career opportunities. Edukasyon.ph will focus on junior high school and senior high school students by starting career seminars.
Edukasyon.ph’s campaign will help guide young girls in making the right school and career decisions through talks about college, work, and entrepreneurship. According to the 2016 Labor Force Survey by Philippine Statistics Authority, only 50% of working-age women are in the workforce — much less than 80% of working-age men. This could be because of the “men are the providers” stereotype, which goes hand-in-hand with the “women should stay in the house” stereotype. This kind of thinking should be buried in the past as we move ahead to our bright future.
The gender gap in the workforce is also prominent in the world of technology. According to Audrey Pe, Founder and Executive Director of Wi-Tech (Women in Technology), “The gender gap in tech stems from the fact that a lot of the role models or successful people right now are men.”
In the past years, children are raised differently based on their gender. Boys are pushed to take risks and be brave while girls are taught to be prim, proper, and perfect. “That type of mindset of over-striving for perfection instead of taking risks is super opposite of what should be done in STEM. In STEM, it should be about experimenting, collecting as much data as possible, going out there, and making mistakes,” explains Audrey. “That’s why women are underrepresented. Society has a perception that women are meant to act perfectly, [that] does not necessarily align with STEM.”
Another gap that our local society’s been struggling with is the generation gap, particularly in the awareness of mental health. Some of the older generations in the Philippines find it hard to accept that there is such a thing as mental health. With the youth spreading the word about mental health – Apple Nocom, Chief Copywriter at Montgomery Fitch, believes that the generation gap is not a lost cause. “It may take a lot of education, and a lot of communication campaigns. I think it was over a year ago when we partnered with Senator Risa Hontiveros’ office to release a series of videos about mental health,” she added. “One of them was interviews with people afflicted with various mental illnesses in which they react to social media comments, or posts that are basically demeaning.”
Audrey and Apple are only two voices of Edukasyon.ph’s 10 Youth Ambassadors. Chosen from different backgrounds, universities, and industries all over the Philippines — the other Youth Ambassadors are all equally empowered, relatable, and inspiring young women: Chal Lontoc-Del Rosario, a multi-hyphenate mom; Chuks Arias, a gender equality advocate; Jen Tarnate, a storyteller; Kara Pangilinan, a creative entrepreneur; Kelsey Hadjirul, a LGBTQ+ advocate; Meryl Jalani, a youth leader and innovator; Riziel Saladaga, an outstanding youth from Cebu; and Sittie Lao, the PH’s youngest legislator. These young women will spread gender equality and women empowerment messages to inspire others to rise above the ranks.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.edukasyon.ph.