Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) joined the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE) as one of its newest members. AEV is the first holding firm to be part of the Coalition of large and influential companies committed to gender equality in the workplace.
AEV joined the 10 Member Companies of PBCWE in leading efforts towards building a business case for gender equality, creating knowledge on best practices in the workplace, communicating the benefits of empowering women in the workforce, and institutionalizing policies based on best practices.
Recognized as one of the best-managed companies in the Philippines, AEV is committed to institutionalizing initiatives that promote equal access to opportunities and decision-making power for both men and women in the workplace.
“As a member of both the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and Board of Trustees of Global Compact Network Philippines, we are committed to align our strategies, culture, and operations with the Ten Principles of the UNGC and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 5 or Gender Equality. It is imperative for businesses to do their part in helping close the gap of participation in contributing for sustainable social and economic development,” said Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer Sabin M. Aboitiz.
PBCWE was established in 2017 as an inaugural project of the Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN) in partnership with Investing in Women (IW), an initiative of the Australian Government.
“We are happy and proud to have AEV in the Coalition where we take Workplace Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment seriously. We accompany these advocacies with evidence-based strategies and concrete actions, especially in the new business setting brought about by the pandemic”, said PhilWEN Chair and PBCWE Co-Chairperson Ma. Aurora “Boots” Geotina-Garcia.
To date, 57% of AEV’s team members are women; while 43% are men. Women occupy 55% of top-level positions, while the remaining 45% are men, which demonstrates significant opportunities provided to women for learning and development, and career advancement.
Strong women leaders are celebrated across the group. Ana Aboitiz-Delgado, a fifth generation business leader from the Aboitiz family who concurrently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer at Aboitiz Group banking subsidiary Union Bank of the Philippines and also sits at AEV’s Board. The Group’s infrastructure arm, Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc, is led by Cosette V. Canilao as its President and Chief Executive Officer, while the Group Human Resources initiatives – key for shaping the organization’s people and culture are driven by Chief Human Resource and Chief Corporate Services Officer Susan V. Valdez. Both Canilao and Valdez also sit in the Aboitiz Foundation Board as Trustees.
Currently, AEV has several team member-focused initiatives that promote gender equality and women empowerment. To promote a safe space for its team members – both men and women – the company conducts learning sessions about Anti-Sexual Harassment at the workplace. AEV gives paramount importance to respect in the workplace as it highly values the dignity of its team members. Also, this year, AEV team members organized the Aboitiz Women’s Club which aims to strengthen and establish networks within the group and for women empowerment.
AEV goes above and beyond what is dictated by law when it comes to providing benefits. These include single parent and violence against women leaves, and free annual physical exams that include monitoring for breast and ovarian cancer for female team members aged 35 years and up.
Through its social development arm Aboitiz Foundation, the Group also contributes to attaining gender equality in various communities nationwide by uplifting women’s economic empowerment. One example is the exponential growth of ‘Thanksgiving Multi-Purpose Cooperative’, a Benguet-based cooperative led by women, which started as a consumer store and has now evolved into a multi-business cooperative offering loans, savings and time deposits, and other services.