A GROUP of women from various sectors in Cebu have come together to shed light on the challenges confronting women and collaborate on crafting programs to address this.
Great Women Cebu was formed after a day of consultative workshops organized by HoliCOW (Holistic Coalition of the Willing) PH on Feb. 1, 2024, in partnership with the Great Women and International Labor Organization (ILO).
The event dubbed “Flip Your Biz,” was attended by 46 women with various roles from various industries.
Rather than offering immediate assistance through ILO’s wealth of resources, Debbie Palao, co-founder of HoliCOW PH, emphasized the importance of first engaging with women through a listening and interactive workshop. This approach, she said, would allow them to understand the challenges these women encounter before determining how best to provide support.
“We are at first analyzing what women in Cebu need,” she said.
“Flip Your Biz” opened a judgment-free zone and a new ground for women to practice peer-to-peer empowerment within their home community.
“We now have a community of women who are willing to help each other in any way they can or even just know each other because business is not just actually about pesos and centavos. Business now is about relationships. That is why people are collaborating. It is business that oils economy. Business is the one that helps families grow,” Palao said.
Kae Batiquin, also co-founder of HoliCOW, said Flip Your Biz aims to not only empower individual women but also to cultivate a supportive community that champions collective growth and success.
“The first Great Women workshop in Cebu aims to network and provide a tangible and supportive presence to women entrepreneurs and decision-makers,” she said.
According to Batiquin, they intend to nurture the dynamic relationship that they’ve formed with the women and expand it.
“While we have amazing women in the room now, we also recognized that there are also amazing women not in the room with us right now,” she said.
The goal is to create a network of women “who are balancing all of these things” and eventually develop “surgically precise programs” to address the issues they face, with the assistance of other organizations from both private and public sectors.
Some of the challenges women encounter revolve around their roles in traditionally male-dominated industries.
“Women in these industries are expected to be the doers, not the decision-makers. If they want to become the decision-makers, they are seen as a threat,” she said.
Other women also highlighted the traumas they endure due to certain industries, where micro-aggressions in speech or hierarchical structures within companies persist. Additionally, there’s often a lack of recognition for the diverse roles women fulfill.
After the first gathering, Batiquin said a series of follow-up meetings with the ILO and Great Women will take place to continue supporting this newly created network of “great” women.