FSSI joins Women of Water Conference

In celebration of the trifecta of observances last March 2023, International Women’s Day, Women’s Month, and World Water Day, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) joined the Philippines’ Women of Water Conference (WoWCon) with the theme, Embracing Equity: Accelerating Change for Water Security through Women Partnership and Cooperation.

The WowCon, hosted by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), was supported the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

FSSI was represented by its Project Development Manager, Celina Rosete, who shared FSSI’s experience in Gender Lens Investing during the session on “Unlocking Public Investment and Harnessing Private Sector Partnership for Equity and Water Security.” Ms. Rosete pointed out that women-owned and led enterprises are still underrepresented in the industry because of lack of support and adequate access to financing, an illustration of prevailing gender inequalities. This area is where FSSI focused its interventions through its support to women social enterprises.

“Women are more nurturing and most of the time, it is perceived as a weakness because of stereotyping and gender bias. When you are nurturing, you show more care, more empathy – may pakialam ka sa ka-trabaho mo, sa nagtratrabaho for you, sa ka-negosyo mo, sa produkto mo, sa serbisyo mo and most especially to the community that you belong in. And that is actually a trait of what is a strong and sound business, ‘yan din ang experience namin with our women social enterprise partners,” she shared.

The event aimed to highlight the significance of gender issues in achieving water security. Ms. Allyson Gardner, Director for Program Resources Management of USAID Philippines, stated in her keynote address that gaps in access and equal opportunities continue to exist for Filipino women and girls in the water sector.

“USAID through our Safe Water Project has worked to strengthen the Gender and Development Focal Point System (GFPS) and public water sector institutions to empower women to participate, lead and make decisions. And I’ve learned that the GFPS mandates all government agencies to identify plans for gender and development and allocate at least 5% of their budget to achieve these goals. With this system in place, our Safe Water Project has used it to help agencies develop meaningful plans to incorporate gender considerations and in fulfilling their mandates and to identify specific and concrete measures that will enable women to emerge as leaders and decision makers in their communities,” she said.

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