Message at the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science Celebration in the Philippines

By Ms Akiko Sakamoto, Regional Skills Development and Employability Specialist, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific at the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science Celebration in the Philippines with the Austrian Embassy, Department of Education and UP National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, 28 February 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 28 February 2022
  • Secretary Leonor Briones of the Department of Education,
  • Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena of the Department of Science and Technology,
  • Her Excellency Ambassador Bita Rasoulina of the Austrian Embassy Manila,
  • Executive Director Sheryl Monterola of University of the Philippines National Institute for Science and Math Education,
  • Distinguished guests and scientists from the Philippines - Dr Tonette Tanchuling, Dr Chona Abeledo, and from Austria - Dlin Eva Schneider.
  • Officers and members of the Women in Tech (WI-TECH),
  • Teachers, students from DEPED, TESDA,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon (good afternoon)!
The ILO recognizes the crucial role of women and girls not only in the world of work, but in our society.

We celebrate them as we mark the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and soon the International Women’s Day.

We are grateful to the Austrian Embassy for this partnership. Together, we hope to inspire and encourage more women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics or STEAM.

We also thank the Department of Education, Wi-Tech, and the University of the Philippines (UP) National Institute for Science and Math Education for co-leading and bringing together teachers and students.

We have here for the first time, key government agencies in science and education and the brightest women scientists from the Philippines and Austria, to share their inspiring journey.

The world needs science. Challenges brought by technological changes, demographic transitions, climate change, and the COVID-19, require the brightest minds and innovative solutions.

Despite huge demand for skilled professionals in STEAM, we still lack women who wish to pursue careers and the education to get there.

The ILO Women in STEM Programme for the past five years, equipped women with critical soft and technical skills.

We want them to gain access to decent work, and advance in their career, particularly in information technology.

Our goal is to train, employ, and prepare more women in STEM. This is in line with the Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines.

Together with TESDA, we provided scholarships and developed e-learning. We supported job readiness and STEM integration in technical vocational trainings.

Over 900 women completed the programme and pursued tech related careers in animation, website, and game development.

One of them was Honey Sta. Ana. When Honey dropped out of college, she hardly imagined herself as a web developer— her dream job. The ILO-TESDA WomenCanDoIT scholarship offered a pathway when she saw it on social media.

Honey finished the course. She was among the three women in her class to receive an internship. A leading global IT service company offered this where she specialized in robotic process automation development.

Currently, Honey works at a major telecommunication company developing a robot that can automate manual processes. Her story highlights how STEM paves the way for personal development, gender equality and decent work.

The Austrian Embassy came across Honey’s story online, and our work on women in STEM. We are grateful for this collaboration. This is a step to close the gender gap and to prepare women and girls for the future of work.

We urge more international collaboration to seize opportunities in STEAM. Every woman and girl in this room has the potential.
May this inspire and encourage many of you.

Science and gender equality are vital for a human-centered recovery from COVID-19. We need to make education for all and decent work a reality. This is laid in the ILO Global Call to Action for a Human-centred Recovery that is inclusive, sustainable, and resilient.

We count on your support to make this happen. Together, we can empower women and girls in STEM and build a better future of work that leaves no one behind.

Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!