Women in the Philippines face the least amount of gender bias in the world in the context of accessing business, academic, economic and financial opportunities and resources, according to the 2018 Mastercard Women’s Entrepreneurial Index (MIWE). However, bigger strides need to be made by governments, businesses, and individuals to further enable women to become leaders in a highly competitive world.
“Gender diversity and giving equal opportunity to women and men, based on merit, is crucial to growing businesses and adapting to changing times. Initiatives such as Girls4Tech provide young women the platform they need to fulfill their passion and hone their skills, allowing them to compete in this era of the technological revolution Mastercard has witnessed first-hand that an inclusive environment, where people from diverse backgrounds and skills can work and grow together, is at the core of every successful innovation,” said Rowell Del Fierro, Country Manager, Philippines, Mastercard.
Globally, 40% of Mastercard employees are female. The organization’s women empowerment initiatives focus significantly on bridging the skills gap in the technology and payments industries. In 2014, Mastercard launched its signature Girls4Tech education platform; it has since encouraged more than 400,000 girls aged 8-12 in 25 countries to pursue their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Recently, Mastercard announced its goal to reach one million girls by 2025 and expand its STEM program by launching Girls4Tech 2.0. Aimed at students aged 13-16, the new program focuses on soft skills necessary for the 21st century while highlighting the importance of collaboration, creativity and communication to excel in the real world. The training content is designed to inculcate curiosity, develop an innovative mindset, and takes a technology-driven approach to solving everyday challenges.
Mastercard has also been supporting women’s empowerment in sport with its sponsorship of women’s football over the last 25 years. As the landscape becomes increasingly competitive for women, Mastercard is investing in clubs and players to help them grow, while raising their visibility to a broader range of fans and enthusiasts. Its latest investment in Arsenal Women Football Club and Olympique Lyonnais and a series of team brand ambassadors celebrates the women who play and support the clubs they play for. Mastercard also recently hailed two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka as one of its brand ambassadors, sending a powerful message of inclusivity in sport.
Locally, Mastercard is narrowing the gender gap by working with banks to create products and solutions that help Filipino women realize their full potential. The RCBC Bankard Diamond Mastercard, dubbed the only credit card that gives back while one spends, allows cardholders to automatically donate to Gawad Kalinga, a non-profit organization that supports poverty alleviation efforts, with every Php100 spent on the card. Now, cardholders also have the option to convert their rewards points to donations towards Zonta International, a global organization of executives and professionals working together to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.