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Workplace flexibility needs to be considered as a way to get more women into leadership roles

Empowering women to work from home if possible and allowing them to re-establish themselves after a break in their career is key, says Monette Iturralde-Hamlin, Founder and President of TeamAsia.

“My company has for the most part been run by women. Sixty per cent of TeamAsia’s staff is female, and in our Management Committee of nine only one is male.

We strive to provide opportunities for women to be mentored, to progress and to excel. People here are very passionate and they’re very young. I joke that I’m running a company of millennials and I’m the only feel-enial (feeling millennial).

Because it’s my company, I can call the shots and create an environment that supports women. I think in the Philippines overall there are a lot of opportunities for women to get to the top, i.e. there are more women on boards compared with other countries. But there’s also a social role they are born into.

Filipino women are told they should be good housewives, mothers and sisters while remaining in the background. I grew up in a household with strong women and I was never told I couldn’t do anything that a man could do.

However, the reality is that women have to work harder at the job than men to be noticed. I worked really hard to catch the attention of people who gave me opportunities.

Women must also be given flexibility in order to progress. One of the things we can’t change is that it is women, not men, who give birth.

Empowering women to work from home if possible and allowing them to reinvent or re-establish themselves after a break in their career is key.

And it pays off because women bring something more to the table. It’s not just their thinking, but also their feelings. Women don’t see decisions in black and white, but evaluate them and think, “How does this affect the people who are involved in this situation?” And that’s crucial for organisations.”



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