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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) highlighted the impact of encouraging more women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics at the S.T.E.A.M. Ahead in ASEAN: A Forum on Women and Technology held in Pasay City.

“Women with STEM jobs earned 33% more than women in non-STEM jobs. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs,” explained Undersecretary for Industry Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado

According to a study published by the ASEAN Secretariat in 2016, gender inequality remains a challenge in the region, particularly in the areas of education, labor force participation, and trade-oriented activities, among others.

“As technology further allows women to work while they remain to be the light of their homes for their families, the more we need to urge young girls of today to seek the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics,” emphasized DTI Undersecretary Terrado.

Moreover, Undersecretary Terrado mentioned the importance of the arts in enhancing the creative and innovative capacity of women in the said fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

DTI and AWEN urge women to explore opportunities in science and tech

Representatives from ASEAN member states strike a pose with DTI Undersecretary for Industry Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado (seated, 4th from left) and ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) Chair Pacita “Chit” Juan (seated, 3rd from left) during the AWEN meet with the press event held in Pasay.

In the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report in 2016, the Philippines led other ASEAN member states in promoting gender equality in economy, education, health, and politics, where the country ranked seventh among 144 countries surveyed. Other ASEAN member states ranked as follows: Lao PDR, 43rd; Singapore, 55th; Vietnam, 65th; Thailand, 71st; Indonesia, 88th; Brunei Darussalam, 103rd; Malaysia, 106th; and Cambodia, 112th.

The said forum convened about 200 various stakeholders in the technology industry, delegates from other ASEAN member states, and the private sector. The sessions and talks focused on the understanding of the roles of and opportunities for women in the innovation economy.

In August this year, the Philippines, through its ASEAN Business and Investment Program (ABIP), will hold the ASEAN Women Business Conference which aims to gather women in the region to discuss topics including women economic participation and trade activities.

Providing more opportunities for women in the ASEAN region is among the integral principles in the building process of the ASEAN community.

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