How to empower women? Robredo suggests a way

Published November 18, 2021, 5:52 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo wants to empower women by providing them economic opportunities through her flagship poverty alleviation program, Angat Buhay.

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP)

The Angat Buhay Women, the women empowerment arm of the Office of the Vice President (OVP), works with the private sector to provide “capacity training in business planning, and introduce aspiring women entrepreneurs to the basic concepts of entrepreneurship.”

Hundreds of participants across the country have joined the Workshops for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs.

“My experience as a lawyer working alongside many women who were survivors of abuse has taught me that the first step to genuine empowerment is economic empowerment. Many of my clients could not leave abusive environments because they lacked the ability to provide for their children,” she shared in her message during an online forum, titled “Women Today, Women Tomorrow.”

“Giving them the means to provide for their own needs and the needs of their families opens the door to larger areas of fulfillment, and the expansion of their dreams,” Robredo added.

This realization sent important message to future generations of women.

“That change is possible, that they can liberate themselves from the conditions which keep them disempowered, and that they have real, personal role models to inspire them,” the aspiring president said.

READ: Robredo bats for gender equality: ‘There is a glass ceiling we must shatter’

Sitting as the second-highest official in the country does not spare her from the prevailing macho society, having been at the tail-end of such bravado in the past five years.

“Our task now is to dismantle, from top to bottom, the old, and oppressive systems and politics that hold back not only women, but all people who struggle in the margins,” she said.

“Let us reshape narratives, break conventional notions, challenge gendered roles, and spread the message that true progress is not the privilege of a few, but a right to be enjoyed by all,” Robredo added.

But she also commended how women have been redefining what it means to be a leader in these extraordinary times.

Robredo cited how women leaders help craft policies that impact the global economy, and how they are serving at the frontlines as healthcare workers, scientists, community mobilizers, and decision-makers.

READ: VP Leni to women: Answer the calls to leadership

“Their work further proves the important role that women play in society, and that no gender has a monopoly on the capacity to lead,” she said.

This is an important point to remember, she noted, “because it has become easy to equate being a strong leader with brashness and aggression— with a loud, domineering style of leadership that, more often than not, disempowers and frightens others.”

“But as women leaders have proven, there is a more humane and effective way to display the strength of our leadership. This is through nurturing and empowering others to become the best version of themselves,” Robredo said.