Lady presidents of the different distinguished State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) of the Philippines came together to exercise and reinforce women power in leadership and decision making in a three day seminar hosted by the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) through the initiative of Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho, WMSU prexy and the Gender Research and Resource Center (GRRC) in collaboration with the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC).
The seminar entitled “Succeeding despite inequities, discrimination and other challenges” recognized and highlighted women’s key roles and accomplishments. It also further critically and sensitively identified gender issues in SUCs and identify solutions to these issues, discussed insights, strategies and best practices women have undertaken to become successful leaders. Lastly, it provided opportunities for women leaders to identify their sources of power and to utilize them for the benefit of their constituents, family and one self.
The colloquy reiterated the provisions of Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) which promotes the full participation and equitable representation of women in all spheres of society particularly in the decision-making and policy-making process in government and private entities, to fully realize their role as agents and beneficiaries of development.
Statistics from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) revealed that men dominate higher education leadership. But there are tremendous inspiring successful women leaders who rose from a simple classroom teacher to a president of a college of a college or university. However, we rarely hear their stories. Thus, the three-day conference is a great avenue to bring all women presidents of SUCs to share their challenges and victories in their journey to inspire other women leaders.
Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture Chair, Hon. Senator Pia S. Cayetano graced the gathering together with District 1 representative, Hon. Lilia M. Nuno, Zamboanga City mayor, Hon. Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, and the PASUC President and incumbent president of the Mindanao University of Science and Technology, Dr. Ricardo E. Rotoras.
During the preliminaries of the session, Bulacan State University president, Dr. Cecilia N.Gascon together with the lady presidents of Capiz State University, Dr. Ediltha L. Magallanes and Central Minadanao University, Dr. Ma. Luisa R. Soliven presented the Best Gender and Development Practices in State Universities and Colleges to the participating body.
On the second day, four vital women empowerment topics were tackled: (1) Women Issues in Leadership; Balancing family, Work, Career and Self, presented by the President of the Women Association of the Philippines and the Director of t Gender Center of the University of the Philippines-Los Banos, Dr. Maria Helen F. Dayo, (2)Women Leaders in HEIs: Nurture your Nature by the WMSU President, Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho, (3) Women Power: Dressing up for all occasions by the WMSU Vice President for Research, Extension Services and External Linkages and Outstanding Couturier of Mindanao, Dr. Roberto B. Torres, and (4) Projection of Women Leaders by Binibining Pilipinas finalist, currently an IT specialist and an entrepreneur, Diane Lim Sadie.