Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Filipino women strengthen ties with the launching of Business and Professional Women Wellington Club

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As the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW New Zealand) continues to be at the forefront of empowered women leading business and influencing public opinion and legislation, the launching of BPW Wellington Club, Inc. at Rydges Hotel on 24 June 2014 constituted another milestone in highlighting the importance accorded to women’s advocacies and contributions in New Zealand. The women members of the Filipino community were among its Foundation Officers with Ms. Billie Searle as President, Ms. Norma Armstrong as the Treasurer and Ms. Viluz Gray as Social Director (Sergeant at Arms) joining Ms. Leonie Dobbs as Vice President Membership, Ms. Hellen Swales, Vice President Issues and Ms. Pauline Edwards as Immediate Past President. BPW Wellington Club Inc is affiliated with BPW New Zealand. BPW NZ, Empowered Women Leading Business, was formed in Wellington in 1939 and continues to be in the forefront of drawing women in various businesses and professions into the mainstream of civic, national and international affairs, actively participating in legislation and linking up with the United Nations and international organizations on matters of direct relevance and great interest to women’s development, protection and empowerment, engaging with communities and groups and enhancing cooperation and goodwill with other business and professional women in other countries. BPW NZ is part of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, a worldwide organization formed in 1930 to be a global voice for women’s issues, interests and concerns and a platform for friendship, service, cooperation, understanding and solidarity among women in the international community.

Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez was chosen to be the first Head of Diplomatic Mission to be closely and directly engaged with BPW Wellington and was invited to speak at its first public meeting. BPW NZ Federation President Vicky Mee confirmed the appointments of Foundation Officers, Ms. Robyn Davison led the oath taking of the Foundation Officers, Ms. Leonie Dobbs shared the BPW Aims, BPW NZ Federation President Vicky Mee talked about the role of the organization in the country, Ms. Davison, 1st Vice President for Membership spoke on the membership aspects of BPW NZ and Ms. Searle, President of BPW Wellington highlighted the upcoming events and general business and dinner meetings.

In her speech, Ambassador Benavidez congratulated the BPW Wellington Foundation Officers as they join the ranks of women in various businesses and professions who are willing to stand up and be counted in building up a strong and credible base in Wellington linked to the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women. Through this, they become part of a global group of the International Federation of BPW with presence, participation and networking with the United Nations Women that focuses on women’s empowerment principles and advocacies. “Back home in the Philippines, the Business and Professional Women Philippines chapter is known for its campaign “Women Stepping Up” and has been active in opening its doors to young women who are in business, independent or corporate business and professionals. Its mission is to bring together Filipina professionals and businesswomen enhancing their leadership competencies as well as supporting women’s SMEs capacity and enterprise building. Mentoring sessions are being held in the Philippines on professional capacity building, financial investments and understanding, public speaking, leading companies and starting new ones. The underlying theme is “Women Stepping Up: Cornerstones on Women Leadership and Empowerment,” Ambassador Benavidez stated. She also shared with them the 5 Es, namely, the environment, the attributes of excellence, empathy and EQ and equilibrium and the gender equality index rating that make women from the Philippines and all over the world a strong, spirited, steady and supportive influencer and anchor in the family, nation and across all sectors. Just like their counterparts in other areas in New Zealand, BPW Wellington is well positioned to be at the forefront of assisting and coordinating with BPW New Zealand and other women’s groups and stakeholders in developing and implementing the capital city’s initiatives, advocacies and programmes on the promotion of greater awareness, understanding and engagement on women’s rights and empowerment especially those affecting migrant women and having their voices heard in the Select Committee in Parliament and going through the various pathways for submitting legislations individually or collectively on issues that directly impact women and their families. BPW Wellington can also be a platform for spirited discussions, comments and exchange of views on a whole range of issues focusing on health and safety, equal pay, gender sensitivity, participation in the political life in the country, access to greater decision-making, increasing influence of women and importance of active involvement of Filipino and migrant communities in legislation submissions and their continuing roles and responsibilities in building a multicultural and ethnically diverse nation founded on respect for human rights, rules based approaches, good governance and equality for all.

The launching of BPW Wellington provided a wonderful opportunity to connect and engage with one another in pursuing the collective goal of promoting women’s rights, gender equality and advancement of women across all sectors and nationalities.

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