Refocus on women empowerment

Female leaders take lead in helping Filipinos enhance their skills

Deep-rooted prejudice continues to stand in the way of gender equality even today. “Babae lang” is often thrown around as it is, after all, still a man’s world. To achieve a truly progressive society, indifference must be erased. We shouldn’t tire of championing women empowerment.

At online education technology company, Refocus, female leaders and students are empowered and recognized. Women, in general, make a lot of impact not only in the workplace but also in various communities. 

Talks on gender equality and inclusivity in the workplace continue. Here are key insights from three Refocus members and students on women empowerment and how vital it is in setting the necessary foundation for an inclusive work environment.

Defining women empowerment

The context of empowering women shifts within society due to different experiences and world views. For some, it means uplifting women’s sense of self-worth and allowing them to have equal privileges and rights to partake of issues. Whereas, others relay it to inclusivity where job opportunities and education are accessible to anyone, no matter what life stage one is at.

“ entails acknowledging and knowing one’s value, the ability to develop and create opportunities, the ability to stand firm in one’s own decisions, and the power to form a movement⁠—influencing and leading others,” says digital marketing manager and Refocus mentor Monica Lerit.

The ever-growing women empowerment movement is challenging society’s stereotypes and broadening everyone’s perspectives on a specific gender or race.

Deep-rooted prejudice continues to stand in the way of gender equality even today. We shouldn’t tire of championing women empowerment.

Monica Lerit

Women in the workplace and the new norm

The definition of equality and inclusivity has changed over time and the norms have been restructured, especially in the Philippines, where the traditional roles for women have evolved from a conservative outlook.

Ella Blando, Refocus’ sales manager, emphasizes that seeing women come out from the traditional practice within the Filipino culture would break barriers for corporate jobs and businesses. She also mentioned that employees feel positive when they have women in the workplace who contribute to a calmer working environment.

“Women leaders tend to create a more structured organization and flow, which increases employee retention rate,” she says. The initiatives to protect women from discriminatory conditions under their employers, nonetheless, have increasingly been fortified through different programs and laws set by organizations and government institutions, respectively.

Hanna Felipe

Thriving in an inclusive environment

Having an inclusive community for these women of education means being able to hold a safe space where ideas, opposing views, and differing opinions can be expressed.

A student of Refocus, Hanna Felipe, says “it doesn’t mean there’s no creative abrasion involved. The best ideas come where everyone agrees to disagree.” She adds that an inclusive environment allows students from different walks of life to express themselves without being judged in the pursuit of academic excellence. It pushes employees and students toward their full potential. By cultivating their capabilities, women can thrive better while given more job and learning opportunities.

Ella Blando

Propelling forward to support female workers, educators, and students

People in the workplace must work together to break the barriers and hurdles that limit women to excel in their fields of work. This can happen according to all three women, by having co-female leaders and mentors who uplift, support, and believe in them. It is crucial to positively support and encourage females to take on roles that are traditionally built for the opposite gender and empower women through a platform to make decisions and help raise their voices and concerns that will address their challenges.

Reinforce women empowerment

Refocus is continuously making an effort to support their internal and external stakeholders toward women empowerment initiatives and support what is needed to reshape society in treating women.

“At the moment we have 70 employees in our company, of whom 60 percent are girls. This shows that we are moving in the right direction in terms of equality between men and women,” says Karina Arushtova, head of learning experience design at Refocus. She furthers that there are still opportunities in the company’s high-level management that women can take on and hoped that the gender balance in the company will improve in the future to represent more women in c-level positions.

Team members work remotely, which makes it easy to combine work with household chores and family. “We have a career center that equally helps with employment for both men and women. We look for companies that need employees and help our students make the most of the professional requirements they offer, no matter the gender,” says Karina.