Consulate Hosts Disrupt 2.0 launch and Filipina global summit kickoff
The Philippine Consulate in Toronto hosted the Global Summit Kickoff and book reading of DISRUPT 2.0 on Sunday March 26th 2017 in celebration of Women’s Month.
This was in preparation for the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Awards set to take place at the 14th Annual Filipina Leadership Summit on October 25-29 in Toronto, Canada.
Spearheaded by The Filipina Women’s Network (FWN), the San Francisco based international advocacy organization is a worldwide network that recognizes and supports the success of Filipina women leaders with members in 20 countries.
Opening speeches were delivered by FWN board member and Senior Trade Commissioner to Canada, Maria Roseni “Nini” M. Alvero, Consul General Rosalita S. Prospero and FWN Founder and CEO, Marily Mondejar.
One of the FWN’s projects is the publication of a leadership anthology. In the first book aptly titled, DISRUPT. Filipina Women: Proud. Loud. Leading with a Doubt, the authors shared their personal stories about leader identity, cultural adjustment to success and victories over domestic violence, incarceration, poverty, discrimination and harassment.
Building upon the anthology’s success, the FWN launched DISRUPT 2.0. Filipina Women: Daring to Lead, which covers the issues of women disrupting the status quo with their accomplishments, becoming strategists, overcoming life’s disruptions through migration, illness, the loss of loved ones, and how leadership values are passed down generations. “There is no literature about Filipina leadership styles and qualities at least in the US literature of leadership. So instead of waiting for someone to publish us, we decided to write our own stories. We want to be able to touch people’s lives, especially young girls’ lives, that one day they will change the world,” Mondejar explained.
In her keynote address, Ambassador Petronila Garcia acknowledged the Philippines’ long history of strong women, from the babaylans of the pre-Spanish pre-colonial times to leaders and fighters during the revolution against Spain, the Filipino-American war, the Second World War, to the more recent Filipina leaders who serve in both the public and private sectors.
The Ambassador also noted that although both men and women have the capacity to be achievers, sometimes societal pressures and cultural stereotypes of what women can and should be, can be too much and that sometimes these limitations are self-imposed and shaped by our culture and our upbringing.
This is where the DISRUPT books fill in the gap by sharing Filipinas’ success stories in their chosen fields, many of which are in sectors previously thought to be the domain of men such as science, technology and mathematics.
Ambassador Garcia commended the FWN for presenting role models that women can emulate and draw inspiration from who have proven that things can be and have been done. “More needs to be said about Filipino women in the different sectors of society, whether in the Philippines or abroad. For instance, we can be proud that the Philippines has had two female presidents. Our chief justice is a woman, and our vice president is a woman and we have about 3,000 women elected into public office and that comprises twenty percent of all the elected officials. We are to the next generation what the early Filipinas are to us – pioneers, role models and the embodiment of what Filipinos can achieve. Women empowerment is a lifetime endeavor. Our work continues and this is a responsibility that falls on both men and women,” said Ambassador Garcia.
In addition to the book reading, the event included a panel discussion on the issues many Filipinas face in Canada.
Atty. Santos shed some light on the Live-in Caregiver Program which attracts up to 90% of participants from the Philippines, many of whom face barriers due to their race, gender, and socio-economic and immigration status. She also talked about how the Live-in Caregiver program is sometimes a form of human trafficking.
“This is something which entices women to work for two years as a condition to obtaining permanent residency and what happens is they end up enduring all forms of abuse and exploitation,” Santos explained. “For example, they work long hours or are overworked but underpaid. They don’t demand overtime pay because they feel that if they do they won’t be able to finish the program and the longer this family separation will occur.”
Ambassador Garcia talked about education as a pathway to immigration with more Filipinos entering Canada as students.
Dr. Cynthia Goh stressed the lack of Filipinos enrolled in the sciences and urged parents to encourage their children to dream high and emphasized the importance of lifelong learning.
Ms. Agnes Manasan talked about the challenges faced by new immigrant families and children brought about by years of separation, the difference between the academic systems in the Philippines and Canada and adjustment to Canadian cultural norms.
The upcoming 100 Most Influential Filipino Women in the World Awards will gather and honor the most influential Filipina women from all over the world who are making strides and influencing change in their communities, professions and industries in Toronto on October 25-29, 2017. FWN’s Pinay power 2020 Mission is to have a Filipina leader in every sector of the economy. More information on the nomination process is available at www.filipinasummit.org/nominate
The summit also raises funds for FWN programs to improve Filipina women’s socio-economic political and educational advancement while nurturing the growth of the next generation of young leaders. One of the summit’s highlights is the FWN Gives Back program for young Filipino Canadian women to accelerate skills in STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in the U.S.
The FWN provides workshops to mentor women and girls as young as 9-12 years old up to college students. For young professionals and entrepreneurs, they have FEMtor Match: Pinay Speed FEMtoring, inspired by speed dating. In this speed networking event, femtees/protegees will have the opportunity to interact with and ask FWN’s Global 100 Awardees questions and seek femtorship relationships in an informal setting. To sponsor or register for the summit, visit http://ffwn.org/event-1837718
For more info, visit www.FilipinaWomensNetwork.org