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Villar cites role of women to drive PH growth

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Senator Cynthia Villar emphasized the vital role of women in driving the Philippines’ economic growth by embracing technological advancements.

Speaking at the recent 18th Annual General Assembly of the Philippine Federation of Local Councils of Women (PFLCW), Villar highlighted the urgency of bridging the gender digital divide to empower women as leaders, innovators, and decision-makers in the burgeoning digital economy.

Villar said navigating the digital age presents both challenges and opportunities and it is crucial for women to leverage technology to stay ahead and contribute meaningfully to our nation’s progress.

Villar underscored that the digital landscape offers a unique platform for women to transform into key players in the economy, provided they are equipped with the necessary skills and opportunities. But the digital divide between genders presents a significant obstacle, she said.

On a global scale, internet usage among men stands at 70 percent, while only 65 percent of women are online, Villar noted. This disparity is even more pronounced in low and middle-income countries, where women are 15 percent less likely to use mobile internet compared to men.

The senator also highlighted a worrying trend in education. Worldwide, only 24 percent of women enroll in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) courses, leading to a shortage of skilled workers.

Although the Philippines fares slightly better, with female enrollment in ICT courses at 30- to 40 percent, Villar stressed that this is still far from sufficient to meet the demands of a digital future.

“We are missing the potential contributions of over half our population in developing a strong digital economy,” she said. 

Villar noted that addressing this divide is particularly urgent as projections indicate that nearly 90 percent of jobs will require digital skills by 2025.

To tackle these issues, Villar reaffirmed the Senate’s commitment to supporting women’s digital empowerment through a series of legislative measures. Keys among these are the following:

·         Republic Act (RA) 11293 (Philippine Innovation Act) to promote innovation and competitiveness across sectors.

·         RA 11337 (Innovative Startup Act), which offers incentives and support for startup ventures.

·         RA 11927 (Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act) to enhance the digital skills of the workforce.

·         RA 11976 (Ease of Paying Taxes Act) that simplifies tax processes to foster economic participation.

·         RA 11967 (Internet Transactions Act) to build trust in the e-Commerce sector by providing a regulatory framework for both consumer and merchant protection.

·         Senate Bill No. 2560 (Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act), which targets financial scams to protect consumers in the digital economy.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline Villar aims to bridge the gender digital divide, pushes for tech-driven female leadership


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