For GBP, the power sector is also a woman’s world
EVERY MARCH, the world observes The National Women’s Month Celebration (NWMC) as part of the commemoration of the International Women’s Day on March 8. This serves as a great reminder that the fight for gender equality is still an ongoing battle as women in many sectors – including the power industry – have yet to break the glass ceiling.
The newly published Gender Social Norms Index by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that 90% of people still hold biases against women and 40% believe that men make better business executives.
Based on the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Philippines ranked 16th out of 153 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index. The number is down from the country’s record last year, when it finished eighth in the global rankings. The Philippines has consistently been in the top 10 of the gender equality rankings since the WEF first launched its annual study in 2006.[DSSP1]
In Global Business Power Corporation (GBP), gender parity is a priority and it is showing that the power sector is not just a man’s domain, but can also be a woman’s world.
GBP joined in celebrating the vital roles women play at work, in the society and within the family through the first GBP Women’s Day.
Anchored on the 2020 International Women’s Day Theme, “EACH FOR EQUAL”, GBP invited multi-faceted women who have shown great leadership, perseverance, and work-life balance in the power industry.
GBP First Vice-President for Corporate Admin Services Atty. Amanda Bengson, in her opening remarks, stated that GBP has always been a woman-friendly environment.
“When you look across all the power generation companies, you would think it is a man’s world. In our corporate office alone, 56% of our employees are women. In our power plants, we have the only plant to-date to be headed by a woman. In GBP, we are respected for what we bring to the table and not because of our gender. It was never because babae ka lang, but babae ka kasi,” she said.
Life has thrown everything at Bengson but she manages to come out on top. A cancer survivor, a mother of five boys and one girl, and a lawyer by profession, she is a force to be reckoned with thanks to her unmatchable grit and tenacity when it comes to her work.
For First Vice President and Cebu Site Operations Head Engr. Leah Diaz, she is grateful for being surrounded with amazing men at work but feels more fulfilled to have witnessed how women have gradually joined, led changes, and made meaningful impact that brought Global Business Power to where it is today.
“Rather than women empowerment, I advocate self-empowerment in an equal-gender society,” said Diaz. “It is not about women having power over men. It is all about having power over one’s self, regardless of gender. Know that one’s power lies within one’s true self. Take control, start breathing passion for excellence and make it your way of life.”
A trailblazer in the power industry, Diaz’s tenacious yet caring personality has guided her path from being the first woman hired in their power plant to being the first woman to lead the power plant’s operations. She balanced all of these while being a mother and a father figure to her three children.
Women Role Models
Atty. Bengson and Engr. Diaz were joined by fellow women workers in GBP who shared their biggest accomplishments as women in the society and suggested ways to further advance gender equality.
Among them is Corporate Planning Officer Jamaica Gambol, a mother of two with her youngest diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. She plays many roles – as a mother, as a wife, as a teacher, and also as a therapist.
Assistant vice president Margarita Paulino is an independent, strong, and career-driven woman who describes herself as that “cool tita” to her nephews and nieces. She courageously made a huge career shift from being a doctor to become GBP’s Finance Head today.
Commercial Group Admin Assistant Gizelle Delos Santos is a single mother of a 9-year old daughter who recently got married to her long time best friend, while Human Resources, Admin, and Learning and Development (HRALD) Head Maria Luz Blanco-Uriarte is a proud HR practitioner of over 30 years and a single mother of three boys.
They suggested that the mindset of victim-blaming should be stopped when it comes to women, and called for the improvement of representation of women in the Philippines, especially when it comes to enacting laws related to women empowerment and gender-equality.
As part of a male-dominated sector, GBP showed the world that women are more than capable of holding their own in the power industry.
Global Business Power shows its support in gender-equality and women empowerment, with (from left) AVP Marketing and Sales Sherrie Anne Jimenez, President Jaime Azurin, HRALD Head Maria Luz Blanco-Uriarte, Corporate Admin Services Head Atty. Amanda Bengson, Cebu Site Operations Head Engr. Leah Diaz, Corporate Planning Officer Jamaica Gambol, AVP Finance Head Margarita Paulino, Commercial Admin Assistant Gizelle Delos Santos, Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran (SPARK) Program Manager Hans Madanguit, Commercial and Sales Head Philip Dasalla, and Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empower Program Manager (PBCWE) Amor Curaming.