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03 August 2020 – The impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women simply by virtue of their gender. Women’s economic empowerment has been hard-hit because women represent 90% of workers in highly-affected sectors such as care and apparel.  To help businesses respond to the crisis, MBC, UN Women, WeEmpowerAsia and the European Union organized a three-part online series, “Gender Responsive COVID 19 Recovery Plans for Businesses”. 

In the final session of the series, the group met with executives and business owners from all over Mindanao. Winn Everhart, Coca-Cola Philippines’ President, shared the company’s efforts in advancing diversity and empowerment through their 50-50 Gender Parity Roadmap. Key initiatives include equal representation in Coke’s leadership team, developing women to become plant managers, and encouraging them to take on non-traditional roles within the organization. Mr. Everhart also introduced the ReSTART program to help micro-retailers restart business and operate safely in the next normal. 

As with the Luzon and Visayas sessions, Rosalyn Mesina of UN Women introduced the Women Empowerment Principles, a self-assessment and action planning tool that companies can download for free.  And MBC and UN Women invited the Mindanao participants to take part in their Gender Diversity in Philippine C-Suite study, which aims to  identify how we can engage more women to participate in the leadership pipeline.