President. Executive Director. C.E.O.
When one hears these words, one automatically imagines a man in a well-pressed suit and tie sitting behind a desk of the most ravishing office in a building, a symbol of who’s in charge.
Where are the women?
In a world where gender bias still exists and population continuously increases, there is a growing need for more manpower, or in this case, womanpower, to help maintain social, political and economic forces that govern a community’s development.
Many women have already achieved so much in these fields, proving that encouraging more of them could be the key in uplifting societal and economic problems. But how do we encourage them, especially the young women, to take up leadership roles?
It is a matter of paving the way towards gender equality and empowerment of women.
And paving that way now in her own community is Angeline Chrisette Olegario, a computer science major at the Western Mindanao State University and a South-East Asian Google Student Ambassador. Olegario recently returned from South Korea after attending the World Congress of Global Partnership for Young Women, held in Duksung Women’s University last August 4-15.
Angeline, along with other youth leaders from over 59 countries, were welcomed during the formal opening of the program at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea. They were brought together to “exchange and create new perspectives on leadership, gender equality and the empowerment of women.” Prominent leaders from The United Nations and renowned universities served as keynote speakers for the event.
Holding true to its theme “Serving Together: Education for the Empowerment of Women”, the program had different youth ambassadors take part in extensive training programs that each participant could freely select. They could choose between seven training programs that spanned different fields, from fashion design to agricultural and ocean industry.
But for the representatives of the Philippines, no program was more perfect than Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training. “We chose the ICT training since Information Technology is related to our major, which is computer science” Olegario explained in a statement.
Their training was spearheaded by Korea Telecommunications (KT), the country’s leading company in telecommunications. The team delved into comprehensive workshops that involved mastering IT skills which can be applied in business and entrepreneurship.
The World Congress was not just an opportunity to exchange ideas on gender equality but it was also an opportunity for the different nations to come together and learn about each other’s cultures, ushering a feeling of understanding and camaraderie among them. A cultural Night was held where every representative presented a glimpse of their country’s culture onstage.
“I danced the Cariñosa to the tune of Zamboanga Hermosa to let the limelight befall on our wonderful city” Angeline said.
In addition to international cultures, the delegates were able to go on tours which featured Korea’s own culture. The Filipino Representatives chose the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) Tour which highlighted the still-ongoing war between North and South Korea. The students were able to visit one of the tunnels dug by North Koreans themselves, converse with North Korean Soldiers, and actually seeing the communist country first-hand.
When asked on what she planned to do with everything she has learned, Angeline said that “As an IT student, I seek to eradicate women and children abuse and security issues by the creation of apps and systems to protect its users thus solving a global social dilemma and also empowering more students and women to take the lead in business and ICT.”
The experience taught Angeline numerous, valuable lessons that could lead to a future that holds no boundaries for women, a better future for both sexes.
“During the whole congress, I have met and established strong connections with youth leaders from all over the world, enhanced my knowledge on gender equality, the equalization of women’s rights, information and communications technology, Korea and the world’s cultures.”
“But most importantly,” she said, “I’ve learned that no matter how different we are in appearances and culture, we are still the same and part of a bigger and greater world.”
Achieving Gender Equality through Women Empowerment. It’s one small step for woman, one giant leap for womankind. And for Angeline Olegario, a young woman driven by passion and ambition, the marathon has just begun. (Althea Sanson – University Digest)