6 Filipino firms show why they're ‘leading companies’ for women
MANILA, Philippines – 6 Philippine-based firms are included in the 50 leading companies for women in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.
The 50 companies are cited for their exemplary work in advancing opportunities for women in the APEC region and beyond. The report, released via APEC bulletin on March 6, showed that these companies have:
- Strong commitment by leadership
- Policies that provide equal opportunities based on merit and respect employees’ lives
- Recruitment of women as an important tool for building the foundation for women’s participation
- Personal relationships and communication among peers as valuable tools to build a culture of diversity
- Evaluation as an important component of successful diversity programs
- Successful gender equality programs that often pursue external policies and partnerships
- Support for women’s economic opportunities that frequently intersect with support from traditional communities and crafts
The 6 Filipino-owned companies that made it to the list are:
Bohol Bee Farm
Located in Dauis, Bohol, the ingenuity-driven restaurant and resort was established in 2003 and to date, employs 205 people. It had revenues of over P50 million ($1.13 million) in 2013.
About 53% of the company’s employees are women, who have a key role in the company’s leadership and management ranks.
Bohol Bee Farm’s top executive and 71% of the company’s decision-makers are women, APEC noted.
The flexibility of women workers in the company is a valuable asset. Bohol Bee Farm employs women farmers to both support local produce and empower hardworking women to be self-reliant through income, “while helping Bohol Bee Farm overcome its operational challenges,” APEC wrote.
Computer Professionals Incorporated (CPI)
Located in San Juan City, this software services and solutions company is one of the leading adopters of women leaders and entrepreneurs in the Philippines, providing equal opportunities in pay scales for both sexes.
APEC noted that CPI is a strong supporter of work-life balance. Since its establishment, it adapted to the needs of family-oriented women by introducing flexible work hours and work-from-home options “which have significantly increased the productivity of women employees and have encouraged women to excel professionally,” APEC noted.
The company also discourages overtime work and emphasizes better planning on the part of the managers during regular work hours, as part of its efforts to improve staff retention and work-life balance.
CPI employs 210 people, 43% of whom are women. All 5 top executives are women; 8 of 10 CPI’s managers are women. Roughly 57% of the company’s decision-makers are women.
The company also nurtures an entrepreneurial culture by allowing employees to engage in business activities outside of their work schedule.
Crea 8 Innov 8 Marketing
A wholesaler and retailer of Filipino-made natural and organic personal and home care products (among them, Human Nature), Crea 8 Innov 8 firm supports various opportunities for women, while facilitating sustainable development of partner-communities.
The sole proprietorship has over 6,300 registered dealers and about 90% of those dealers are women. Its affiliates like Human Nature, Filbamboo Exponents Incorporated, and Mandaluyong Packaging Industries Incorporated have women on their boards and several women in their top leadership.
Located in Parañaque and Quezon City, Crea 8 Innov 8 and affiliates promote gender sensitivity, just wages and benefits, and an environment that is friendly to women and children.
It is also very active in sustainable livelihood and development, inclusive growth for poor and marginalized communities, innovation and integration, and environmental sustainability.
ECHOStore Sustainable Lifestyle
ECHO (Environment & Community Hope Organization) is a retail company that supports traditional artisanal skills and local cultural traditions through the sale of environmental-friendly sustainable goods produced by local businesses.
As of 2009, ECHOStore is 99% women-owned, with a customer base of 90% women, and a network of suppliers that were 86% women-led, APEC noted.
Outside of the firm, ECHOStore also supports women in its supplier chain. ECHOStore’s non-profit ECHOsi Foundation handled the nationwide Gender Responsive Economic Action for the Transformation of Women (GREAT), a multi-stakeholder development partnership with the Philippine Women’s Commission and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development.
GREAT was created to assist women entrepreneurs with issues such as product development and packaging, financial understanding, and building connections with organizations and agencies that can help them improve their production capacities.
In return, ECHOStore benefitted from increased product innovation and the creation of sustainable chain processes, as well as developing greater financial literacy and stronger information and communications technology (ICT) practices among local producers.
Filip + Inna
A young company that integrates traditional Filipino artisanal designs into contemporary, modern clothing, Filip + Inna is administered only by women and employs 120 staff in both rural and urban communities.
Founded in 2010, the company focuses its efforts on creating a work environment supportive of its workers’ needs. For instance, it has a unique works schedule that enables it to manufacture its products as efficiently as possible, while allowing mothers to take their children to school in the morning and spend time with them in the afternoon.
APEC also noted that Filip + Inna is eager to increase its workers financial literacy by providing them with access to resources such as bank accounts and ATM cards. “In doing so, the company is helping workers to ensure their income is saved and spent on the care and education of their children,” APEC said.
Pointwest Technologies Corporation
A fully, Filipino-owned IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) company, Pointwest has built up an employee base that is majority female (542 women among 1,069 staff), with 6 of 7 executive positions held by women.
The company supports the lifestyle and career growth of its employees by ensuring that workloads are fair. It also grants additional leave time to compensate overtime work. Wellness programs are also offered to support employees’ physical and mental health.
In 2014, it won the International ICT Awards for Best Filipino-owned company category.
Spearheaded by the APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, the companies recognized in the report were nominated and selected by APEC member economies and industry associations throughout the Asia-Pacific.
“In the report, we highlight 50 small and large Asia-Pacific companies that offer proven and effective ways to improve women’s economic participation, entrepreneurship, and leadership,” explained Toshikazu Yazawa, assistant director of the APEC Office at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, who managed the project.
Best practices in nurturing women leadership were also spotlighted in the recent APEC report.
“There are increasingly fewer numbers of women employed at each higher level within a company,” explained Yazawa. “This leaking pipeline phenomenon is a key challenge APEC is working to overcome.” – Rappler.com
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