March 31, 2024

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), together with Coca-Coca Philippines, organized a forum at the United Nations 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68).

The forum, with the theme "Women in TVET: Unlocking Digital Empowerment", was conducted as a side event of the CSW68 last March 18, 2024 in New York City.

In a statement, TESDA Director General, Secretary Suharto T. Mangudadatu said that the forum is an important milestone for TESDA to encourage more women participation in non-traditional trades, especially in the Philippines.

“The event provides an overview of the recent approaches to poverty reduction, gender equality, and women empowerment in entrepreneurship through digital platforms and facilitate access to resources for small business development,” said Secretary Mangudadatu.

The forum also aims to highlight transformative digital programs for women, stressing their integration into a holistic ecosystem encompassing business skills training, capital access, coaching, mentoring, and networking.

Among the forum speakers were Bataan 1st District Representative Cong. Geraldine Roman, TESDA’s Deputy Director General Vidal D. Villanueva III and Assistant Executive Director Katherine Amor A. Zarsadias, and Coca-Cola East Region Senior Director Ivanna Dela Torre.

Other speakers included Coca-Cola Philippines Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Senior Manager Joy Munsayac-Cacal, Malaysian Association for Women in Digital & Technology Advisor Carol Fung, and United States Agency for International Development Deputy Assistant Administrator Bama Athreya.

The topics discussed during the forum were “Accelerating Women’s Empowerment in TVET: Let’s Make it Digital for All,” “Empowering Women: The Catalyst of Private-Public Collaboration,” “TVET Digitalization: Bridging Competency Gap for Women,” “Digital Transformation for Women Economic Empowerment with iSTAR Program and REBORN Tindahan Extra Mile,” and “Empowering Women in the Digital Economy in Malaysia.”

The forum’s conceptualization was spearheaded by Deputy Director General Rosanna A. Urdaneta, as TESDA’s Gender and Development (GAD) Executive Committee Chairperson, in consideration of the current and future initiatives for the agency's GAD programs.

The CSW68, the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment, was conducted from March 11-22, and had the theme “Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of All Women and Girls by Addressing Poverty and Strengthening Institutions and Financing with a Gender Perspective.”

It gathers governments, civil society organizations, experts, and activists from across the world to agree on actions and investments that can end women’s poverty and advance gender equality.

Secretary Mangudadatu shared that TESDA has been prioritizing women in the provision of skills training for them to be empowered and to further widen their employment opportunities in the country.

“By providing women with the skills, resources, and opportunities needed to thrive in technology-driven industries, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable society,” the TESDA chief emphasized.

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