DOST Joins Efforts with UN, PCW, to Bridge the Gap on Gender and Poverty 

To address the challenges of gender inequality and poverty, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in collaboration with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the United Nations (UN) Women Philippines, spearheaded the “Mind the GaP (Gender and Poverty)” hybrid forum on March 22, 2024, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).  

Aligned with the 2024 National Women’s Month celebration theme of “WE (women empowerment) for gender equality and inclusive society,” the forum served as a significant side event of the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Aptly titled “Mind the GaP (Gender and Poverty),” the hybrid convention saw the presentation of successful Philippine initiatives vis-à-vis international objectives regarding the subject, that demonstrated the multiplier effect of investing in women’s potential throughout communities and businesses.  

Fleshed out during the forum were real-life scenarios and challenges faced by women and girls, and how science, technology, and innovation is a powerful tool for women entrepreneurship to bridge the gender divide, as well as women representation in science and technology-related fields. 

The forum brought together multisectoral stakeholders who took part in the discussions on how to collaboratively promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in various settings. The 170 participants came from national government agencies, DOST businesswomen adaptors, non-government organizations, and women-led communities. In addition, 1,115 people from different countries joined remotely via the Zoom application.   

The “Mind the GaP” forum examined the importance of incorporating gender perspectives in Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) to increase economic empowerment opportunities for women and girls. Distinguished speakers, including DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., DOST Undersecretary Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang, DOST Assistant Secretary Dr. Diana L. Ignacio, UN Women Philippines’ Ms. Sigrid Jan Sibug, Women’s Federation for World Peace’s Ms. Merly C. Barlaan, and Consul and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Manila Mr. Fabio Pompetti, shared their respective insights about the event’s theme, and how it affects women socio-economically. The event also served as a platform to discuss current challenges and opportunities, ensuring women’s meaningful economic participation as a pathway to poverty alleviation.  

Dr. Ignacio, DOST’s GAD Focal Person, emphasized the need for inclusivity in creating a culture that encourages women to participate in scientific and technological endeavors.  

For her part, Ms. Sibug, UN Women’s National Technical Consultant for Policy said that “We need to invest in policies and programs that address the root causes of gender inequalities and we need to invest in boosting women’s agency and leadership.’ She added that “We can only do that by making sure we take collective action through a whole-of-society, whole-of-government approach by engaging both men and women in different sectors of society and for all of us to be ambitious and intentional in our investments and strategies for women and girls.”  

The “Mind the GaP (Gender and Poverty)” forum concluded with a strong call to action, calling on all sectors to actively engage in breaking down obstacles to women’s economic empowerment. By embracing diversity and inclusivity, stakeholders hope to create a more equitable and prosperous society.  

By: Divine Joy T. Niala , FAS-GAD Unit

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