Women-nation. With the first batch of graduates under the TESDA-Ariel #AhonPinay program were (2nd row, L-R) TESDA Women’s Center Chief Maria Clara Ignacio; P&G Ariel Philippines assistant brand manager Darla Bautista; P&G Regional Communications Manager for Fabric & Home Care, Southeast Asia Louie Morante; HARI President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez Agudo; P&G Philippines Country Leader for Laundry John Terence Dy; and TESDA-NCR Regional Director Cenon Querubin.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, HARI President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo interacted with students while touring the newly inaugurated Ariel #AhonPinay Electrical and Installation Maintenance Training Room at the TESDA Complex in Taguig City.
March 14, 2018, TESDA, Taguig City. “We are here to celebrate the power of the heart, ang inyong kaalaman, tibay ng loob, kakayahan na maging bayani. You are all modern-day heroes,” stressed Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), in her keynote address to the first batch of TESDA Women’s Center graduates under the Ariel #AhonPinay program.
For the HARI chief, a HERO means having a “Heart to Empower and Reach Out to Others,” embodied by women filled with purpose at home and in the workplace. In addition, Ms. Agudo paid tribute to mothers as society’s unsung heroes, faced with the challenges of balancing work and family. “But do we have to choose?” she challenged. “Are work and family not complementary? Family gives us purpose. Family makes us better at everything we do. We work hard because we are inspired by the people we love…. We must be valued for what we are and what we actually contribute to family, society, and the economy.”
The Philippines is the only Asian country to be in the top 10 of the most gender-inclusive nations, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap report. In the 2017 WEF Global Gender Gap report, the Philippines placed 10th out of the 144 countries surveyed, recognized for its gains in four categories: labor force participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. Despite this, many Filipinas still struggle to achieve true gender parity with their male co-workers.
The 60 new graduates of TESDA courses in Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Plumbing, Automotive Servicing and Electrical Installation and Maintenance must deal with the fact that these fields are still considered “male territory.” To this, the HARI Chief recounted her own journey of breaking through the glass ceiling in the local automotive industry—from being born to a modest family where her parents struggled to provide all their children the best possible education, to hurdling her lack of familiarity with an industry that is traditionally led by men. Coming full-circle, she encouraged her audience to do the same—to “choose to succeed”, that is, to pursue a life of learning and courage in the face of adversity.
Ms. Agudo, a firm advocate of women empowerment, congratulated Procter & Gamble for the #AhonPinay campaign, and TESDA, for striving to advance women empowerment and gender inclusiveness in the country. “Women have the right to quality education, health services, housing, and employment, not because we are women, but because these are basic human rights,” she punctuated.
Closing her speech, she stated: “Ito ang aking pinangarap para sa lahat ng kababaihan, na pahalagaan tayo bilang babae, kapantay ng lalaki sa pagtamo ng ating mga pangarap. We all have the right to be free to fulfill our roles and duties as mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, workers, and professionals. Being a HERO means being able to pursue our dreams for ourselves and those we love.”