MANILA, Nov. 23 (PNA) — Advancing gender equality and women empowerment took center stage at a recent conference organized by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), seeing it as a key element in delivering effective technical vocational education or tech-voc to Filipinos.
“We have a responsibility as catalyst in promoting gender equality and women empowerment. Gender responsiveness is a measure of good governance,” TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said.
Villanueva underscored the importance of gender mainstreaming to integrate a gender perspective in all phases of development work, such as budgeting.
“A gender responsive budgeting will ensure that the budget impacts on both men and women against the typical thought of balancing the books of money in and money out,” he said.
“The greater challenge is making a link between TESDA’s gender and development plan and budget and gender issues in TVET to address the inequality between men and women in the technical vocational education and training sector,” Villanueva added.
Gender and Responsive Governance, Rights-Based Approach to Realizing Gender Equality, Administrative Disciplinary Rules on Sexual Harassment and Gender Mainstreaming were among the subjects of exchanges during the National Gender and Development Conference held from Nov. 19 to 21 at the TESDA Women’s Center. The participants composed of TESDA GAD focal persons were also trained on the preparation of GAD plan and budget and accomplishment report using the gender mainstreaming and monitoring system developed by the Philippine Commission on Women.
In advancing the promotion and practice of the concepts of gender and development, Villanueva said that focus is not only on women.
“Understanding gender means understanding the differences in economic, social, political and cultural attributes that are associated with being male or female, or in some places, the third or other gender,” he said.
“Growth alone is not enough, it should lead to equal development, no one should be left behind,” the TESDA chief added.
Gender and development has been high on TESDA’s agenda as it delivers tech-voc education and training. This component has been present in a number of its programs and projects, especially those that focus training on women entrepreneurs.
The TESDA-Coke Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program is a good example of such program of the agency. Under this, TESDA together with its other partners from the private sector and local government units, have taught women to be better managers, not just of their homes, but of their own businesses. They are also given training on how to get access to resources, tools and capital needed to make their businesses successful.
Former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, who was one of the resource persons during the conference, lauded TESDA for sustaining the operations of the TESDA Women’s Center (TWC) and continuously providing opportunities for women empowerment. She said that she is very happy that all their efforts in establishing the training center in the late 1990’s have contributed to the socio-economic upliftment of more and more women.
TWC is now offering various programs for women in cookery, housekeeping, food and beverage services, food processing, bartending, welding, automotive servicing, consumer electronics servicing, plumbing and pharmacy services.(PNA)