Procter & Gamble Philippines, the country’s leading consumer goods company known for championing equality and inclusion through its  advertising and brands such as Ariel, Pantene, and Pampers, held its annual P&G Equality and Inclusion Symposium on International Women’s Day, with Senator Risa Hontiveros, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality Committee of the Senate, as the keynote speaker.

equality and inclusion

The company-wide forum also invited notable leaders who champion equality and inclusion, both from inside P&G and outside to share their experiences and their work in making the world a better, more inclusive place.

In her keynote address, Sen. Hontiveros spoke of her commitment and drive to create positive change in the Philippines. According to her, the fight for equality and equity needs to be at the forefront as this is what will help us “recover from the historic trauma of COVID-19”. Because of the pandemic, Filipinos face exacerbated gender-based oppression and women experience a disproportionate amount of economic burden.  

“I still remember how difficult it was to be a solo mom. I was automatically mother, father, caregiver, and breadwinner who also had duties to the country. I can’t imagine now the responsibilities of the Filipina in the middle of these multiple crises, who must play all these roles. All these are why I am a proud advocate of the SOGIE Equality Bill and the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act. I want you to know, as the chair of the Committee on Women, I hear you and will make sure we women are heard,” shares Sen. Hontiveros. 

The lawmaker is also the proud proponent of the 2019 Expanded Maternity Leave Law that gives 105 paid maternity leave for mothers and expands Paternal Leaves through the “Daddy Quota” or “Pasa-leave” because she believes that “shared responsibility for parenthood is a crucial part of equality”.

P&G has been supportive of this law since 2017 even before its passage, and now has also recently launched their “Share the Care” paid parental leave program which gives all P&G parents, regardless of gender and civil status, 8 weeks of fully paid leave so all can share in caregiving and bonding with new children.  The industry-leading program provides fathers with paid parental leave well beyond the 7 days provided by law, and recognizes even adoptive parents.  This provides equal opportunities for all employees and removes biases that hinder progress such as the outdated stereotype that women should be the sole caregiver in the household.

Part of P&G’s commitment to equality and inclusion is achieving equal representation at all levels. The company’s representation is well-balanced at 53% female to 47% male across its 2,000 employees.  While this balance usually tips towards male at more senior levels, the company has achieved solid representation even at senior management levels, which is impressively at 54% female and 46% male.  They attribute this to intentionality in understanding and addressing the barriers to equal representation at higher levels.

“Imagine a place where people are valued for the difference that we can make, and not judged by the differences that we have.  Using the full strength of our people and our brands, we aspire to create a world where we see equal, a world where everyone is included and has equal opportunities.” shares Raffy Fajardo, P&G Philippines President and General Manager.

The symposium also featured a panel discussion with Mela Habijan, member of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines; Aya Fernandez, youth leader and founder of Project Lily PH, Gina Villariza, ANZ Abilities Network Executive Sponsor; and Paul Albano, Sales Vice President of P&G Philippines. The panel shared their experiences and changes they have made in their respective fields.

Habijan shared her experiences as a transwoman and the prejudice the community experiences on a daily basis. In her talk, she stressed the importance of having conversations to break the stigma and bias on trans people. 

“We are denied chances and opportunities just because we are trans people. This world tells us that when you’re trans or you’re LGBTQIA+, your dreams can never come true. This has pushed people like me to lose hope and live in fear. If we continue to live in fear, we are unfree,” says Habijan.

She thanks P&G and its brand Pantene for being one of the strong allies and advocates through its advertising and for having an inclusive workplace culture and policies where transgenders like her are accepted, valued, and given equal opportunities. Habijan hopes that more institutions and people will help break prejudice.

Albano furthered the discussion on gender equality by sharing how P&G’s Sales Department progressed into a more inclusive environment today where women leaders flourish, despite sales being a traditionally male-dominated field. Albano cites how someone like Fama Francisco, now P&G Chief Executive Officer for Baby and Feminine Care globally, who started as the first female P&G sales manager in the Philippines, can succeed in P&G and make an impact globally.

P&G as a champion of equality and inclusion

P&G’s global #WeSeeEqual campaign aspires to create a better world for everyone — free from all types of bias based on race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and background. The company believes in the power of our differences and the impact we can make when we all come together united by shared values and purpose.

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