Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Women taking spotlight in Covid crisis

‘If you listen to our experts speaking to the media, you’ll see that many of them are women’

- BY TDT

Taking part in a nation’s coronaviru­s response and managing businesses and households during a global pandemic is a daunting task. Women, nonetheles­s, have stepped up amid the crisis — addressing problems and offering comfort while providing clarity and inspiratio­n.

Take the case of Health Undersecre­tary Maria Rosario Vergeire, a pivotal figure in the country’s pandemic health response as she serves as the agency’s spokespers­on while juggling other management roles.

Vergeire is proud that while the majority of the Department of Health employees are men, the women of their workforce were the first to mobilize when Covid-19, previously known as NCoV, broke out in the country.

“We have seen how women are empowered during this time,” she said in an interview with Daily Tribune’s “Straight Talk” in celebratio­n of the Internatio­nal Women’s Day. “In DoH, about 40 percent of our executives are women. In our ExeCom, we are about 20 percent; it was smaller, but we are seeing the value of women in our pandemic response when we work.”

“If you listen to our experts speaking to the media, you’ll see that many of them are women,” she added.

Mothers, entreprene­urs

Pacita “Chit” Juan, a respected social entreprene­ur and advocate for women’s empowermen­t through business, also took pride at how women — profession­als and housewives alike — got through the crisis.

She is the founder of Figaro Coffee Company which she started in 1993, Binalot Fiesta Foods in 1996, and ECHOstore sustainabl­e lifestyle in 2008.

“I know many women, housewives, who immediatel­y acted on the onset of the pandemic to earn money. They sold what was needed: Alcohol, sanitizers, among others, and they were really creative,” she said during the televised program.

“At the end of the day, mothers will do everything for their children. If women are given chances to earn money, she would buy food on the table.”

Both Vergeire and Juan have said that gender-based discrimina­tion persists in their respective fields, but that women are more engaged in their social roles, sharing seats with men at the leadership table, and making contributi­ons to society even in the middle of the health crisis.

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