WE-ICT initiative empowers women entrepreneurs through digital skills

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Gina Romero, co-founder and CEO of Connected Women; Mon Ibrahim, DICT Undersecretary; Ruth Yu-Owen, co-founder and COO of Connected Women signing the MOA program for women to develop digital skills

Women and technology are a great mix. This is one of the main goals of the WE-ICT (Women’s Empowerment-ICT) an initiative that aims to empower Filipino women through digital literacy, freelancing, remote work, and tech-powered entrepreneurship.

Under the WE-ICT Initiative, Connected Women Jobs signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Communications and Technology (DICT) to provide a specialised program for women to develop digital skills. The modules for learning have been provided by Facebook through their #SheMeansBusiness initiative and will be rolled out across Tech4Ed centers nationwide.

Connected Women’s CEO and Co-Founder, Gina Romero, says it’s her personal mission to improve the lives of women by creating awareness about location-independent work opportunities. “Women have many options to work online now. Connected Women is here to help Filipino women access global work opportunities without having to leave home.”

Last March 13 at the Discovery Suites in Ortigas, representatives of Connected Women, DICT, and Facebook announced the collaboration just in time for National Women’s Month, which is celebrated in the Philippines as part of the worldwide tribute of International Women’s Day.

“DICT is very, very pleased to be partnering with Connected Women as well as with Facebook,” explains DICT Undersecretary Mon Ibrahim. “With this collaboration, we hope to make this our platform for making the roots of their initiative far, far greater. Reaching the farthest of the Philippines.”

Creating Empowered Women

Connected Women plans to expand its training content to include skills for online work in editorial, design, admin, finance, coding and marketing automation. It is especially focused on creating opportunities for women not in the workforce because of parenting or caregiving responsibilities

John Henry Naga, Assistant Secretary and Chief of Staff to the OIC at the DICT, shared how DICT’s existing programs have changed the lives of women, allowing them to be financially independent and contribute to their families and society.

How We-ICT Targets Its Goals

Ruth Yu-Owen, Connected Women’s Co-Founder and COO said, “Collaborating with partners like Facebook and DICT means we can reach women in all parts of the Philippines, from North to South. Gina and I are determined to make sure no woman is left behind.”

Key collaborations under WE-ICT include:

Connected Women Jobs, an online platform that matches women entrepreneurs to qualified Filipino women assistants
DICT’s Tech4ED is an e-learning platform that provides learning and skills development opportunities for digital inclusion
UN-APCICT’s WiFi (Women’s ICT Frontier Initiative) promotes ICT skills for women entrepreneurs in Asia and the Pacific
#SheMeansBusiness, a Facebook-led initiative that has customized modules for training small to medium businesses
Co-led by Connected Women and Bayan Academy, #SheMeansBusiness Philippines has trained more than 400 women through six workshops in the following key cities: Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and Legazpi, with at least seven more events planned through 2018.

“Women entrepreneurs still face specific, persistent barriers—from cultural to legal, financial to self-confidence—to start and grow their business,” says Clair Deevy, Director of Community Affairs, Facebook APAC. Deevy explains that this is why they want to celebrate women and give them practical support and advice to turn their ideas into reality.