National Women’s Month: Celebrating Pinay Power

Since its establishment in 2011, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Inc. (ICCPI) has been an active partner of the Italian Embassy in the Philippines and the government in fostering greater relations between our two countries. As the Chamber’s Vice President of the Board of Directors, I am honored to be collaborating with its officers and members who are committed to strengthening trade and investment ties, promoting Italian culture and business excellence, and supporting our members through a range of services and events.

 Either as a group or as individuals, we encourage Italian businessmen to explore the market, and seize growth opportunities because of the renewed confidence of the international community on the Philippine economy.

Arch. Nati with the employees of IDC, the majority of which are women

 We have staged at least one major event per month since January. It kicked off with the 2024 Philippine Economic Spotlight featuring Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual. Last month at the ICCPI, we successfully held the Infrastructure and Construction Forum which was designed to foster dialogue around pivotal sectors crucial to the nation’s growth and connectivity. We brought together key stakeholders, industry pioneers, policymakers, and experts to delve into the multifaceted landscape of infrastructure development in the Philippines.

 This month, we focused on women empowerment and inclusion in celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD) as promoted by the United Nations and the National Women’s Month, and as contained in Presidential Proclamation No. 227 in 1988 issued by then President Cory Aquino, who held the distinction of being the first female president in Asia.

The women of IDC Homes, IDC Prime, and PRIMA in Cagayan de Oro headed by Ms Gladys Echano VP for Sales (middle left) and Clara Alizaga, VP for Banking and Account Management (middle right)

 Last March 8, the ICCPI, in partnership with the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines (WomenBizPH), held the Women Lead Conference at the Dusit Thani Hotel which gathered hundreds of leading women of commerce to celebrate and recognize the social, economic, and political achievements women.

We had Ms. Rayla Allertsen, founder of Global Educator U and the best-selling author of I Can Read Series+, as the keynote speaker. The event likewise featured women leaders as inspirational speakers and panelists such as WomenBizPH chairperson Mylene Abiva, Call Center Association of the Philippines President Rosario Bradbury, and TeamAsia President Monette Hamlin.

I was delighted that we were able to pay tribute to the role of women in our society and highlight their remarkable contributions in various fields. Their resilience, intelligence, and unwavering determination continue to inspire generations, fostering a more equitable and empowered world.

On a personal note, I am never lacking in women to honor or draw inspiration from. I grew up in a family where the majority were women. Growing up in a predominantly female family, alongside my father, I cherish the influence of my mother and three sisters in the household.

I couldn’t agree more with what the accomplished Hollywood actress and writer Nia Vardalos once remarked: “The man may be the head of the household. But the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head whichever way she pleases.”

As a company, Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) fully recognizes what women bring to the table. Their unique perspectives, leadership qualities, and ability to foster collaboration are invaluable assets. By actively incorporating more women into our management team and throughout our organization, we aim to create a diverse and dynamic environment that drives innovation and success.

Within our seven-person Management Team, women occupy three pivotal roles—Finance & Accounting, Operations & Investor Relations, and Sales. Furthermore, women make up over half of the workforce at IDC, with our subsidiary company, IDC Homes, being staffed entirely by women.

 In one of our light moments at the office, I asked our senior sales director Gladys Ivy Echano, who has been with Italpinas since Day One (she is our employee 001) what made her stay with the company for the past 14 years, she said it is because of its leaders, the people, and the workplace.

 “It’s rare to find a company that not only treats you well professionally, but also cares for your wellbeing. I am blessed to be with IDC, and I intend to work with all of you until my retirement, if God permits,” she told me. What a heartwarming remark.

Indeed, we have grown as a company through the years because of the men and women that make up our team. Their dedication, expertise, and hard work have been the cornerstone of our success. As we continue to expand and take on new challenges, we remain committed to promoting gender equality and empowering all our employees to reach their full potential.

This commitment is reflected not only in our hiring practices but also in our corporate culture and values, which emphasize respect, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for professional growth.

 And so, this National Women’s Month, we celebrate the strength, resilience, and invaluable contributions of women at IDC and around the world. May we continue to champion the spirit of equality and inclusivity, ensuring that every voice is heard, every talent recognized, and every dream given the wings to soar.