The Philippines has made progress in promoting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. More and more women have become successful businesswomen and are making financial decisions for their families. But much work remains to be done, as the country is slowly recognizing women entrepreneurs and consumers as needed to drive economic growth. Read more.
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Motivating Women Entrepreneurs and Consumers
More and more women are able to pay for major purchases for themselves as well as their families. Furthermore, women-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are also on the rise. However, women entrepreneurs and consumers still continue to face significant challenges in accessing financing, technologies, and markets. More convenient access to these financial services will allow them to invest in and venture into entrepreneurship.
At the CNN Philippines’ #EmbraceEquity Women’s Summit, BDO Vice President and Head of Sustainability Marla Garin-Alvarez shared insights on how women entrepreneurs and consumers drive the growth of MSMEs in the Philippines.
She shared that 48% of BDO’s auto loans and home loans are by women clients, yet vehicles and homes are often marketed primarily to men. Moreover, she highlighted that a majority of BDO’s MSME clients are women-owned, with women accounting for 66% of their total client base.
More Opportunities and Services for Women
“We need to ensure that women are able to explore opportunities for them to contribute to the economy. We are proud that we support women as consumers and as entrepreneurs through products and services offered by BDO,” Garin-Alvarez said.
Garin-Alvarez explained that while women are represented in the workforce and leadership, there is still a gap in women’s wealth accumulation. Women need both financial services and non-financial services such as financial literacy in banking, investments, inheritance, and property ownership to help them build wealth.
Garin-Alvarez also added that from BDO’s experience, women entrepreneurs have a better repayment history. She emphasized that providing adequate support to women entrepreneurs is crucial to encourage more of them to venture into entrepreneurship that brings growth to the economy.
Greater collaboration between the government, financial institutions, and the private sector should be established to create a more enabling environment for women consumers and entrepreneurs. This includes providing access to finance, mentoring, training, and networking opportunities that will help women consumers be more financially independent. These will also make women entrepreneurs start or scale their businesses.
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