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The business sector has always been male dominated. As years progress, the society became more aware of the importance of gender equality in the economy.

The Government of Canada, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), and the Department of Science and Technology Region 02 (DOST R02) noticed this change and joined in the fight towards gender equality, more specifically, women economic empowerment.
Women Micro Entrepreneurs (WMEs) in the region were given the opportunity to join PCW’s Supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Project, implemented by DOST R02. The DOST-PCW Project was led by Dr. Teresita A. Tabaog, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations Services. She was also assisted by Ms. Jennifer B. Ibañez, Project Assistant III, all throughout the implementation of the project.
Women from various backgrounds actively participated in the project since its start in 2014. Aside from providing appropriate technology, DOST R02 also prepared numerous trainings and gatherings to aid in improving their businesses. Even at the onset of the pandemic, the WMEs were still actively participating in every activity prepared by the department.
As the project officially ends this year, DOST R02 conducted the WEE End of Project Assessment on November 17 to 18 at Iguig, Cagayan. Enrolled WMEs traveled from all parts of the region just to participate, while strictly following health protocols, such as undergoing antigen testing.
The WMEs were given a chance to share their best practices and life stories to one another. What is probably common in all their stories is their journey in becoming empowered business women despite the challenges around them.
Most of them found it hard to provide for their families, considering how little opportunities were available for women in the society. Some of them were former OFWs and housewives and had trouble meeting financial needs, due to little to no salary. While some shared how they were deprived of education when they were young, thus instilling to them the idea that they won’t have a prosperous future due to lack of a degree.
However, one thing was clear in their stories. They were brave enough to face the challenges ahead. Through the WEE project, their bravery was matched with empowerment.
Today, these women testify about their successes. Their assets and income proved that, as some are now earning as to over five million in a year. Aside from that, tangible results of their hard work were also featured. Most of the WMEs finally had the resources to purchase their own cars, houses, and sustainable production areas.
“Even though I did not graduate from any school, I feel educated and equipped because of WEE. As a woman, I feel empowered that I can accomplish more, through the lessons from their webinars and trainings.” Ms. Lucila Ferrer, a WME, shared.
As the project ends, DOST R02 and PCW are happy to see improvements in the WMEs businesses. Most of all, it is refreshing to see improvement in their mindset regarding women empowerment, and the way they look at themselves as women who can accomplish anything. (S&T Pen 02_Hanz Mallillin)

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