Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte believes that women stand to benefit greatly from digitalization, especially when it comes to education, work, business, and access to healthcare.
During her recent keynote speech at the SPARK Philippines’ “Women Forging the Digital Future” event, Belmonte urged Filipino women to take advantage of the benefits that digitalization provides in terms of their careers and sources of livelihood.
“Digitalization has indeed made education more accessible to women around the world. We now have access to a wider range of courses and educational materials regardless of our location. We can learn new skills to help us advance in our careers,” she said.
Technology helps create new opportunities for women to participate in the workforce through various means, such as work-from-home arrangements that allow them to achieve a work-life balance, she noted.
Digitalization also helps women entrepreneurs grow their businesses and reach a wider market through digital tools such as e-commerce platforms and e-wallets.
“Having their own GCash, GrabPay and Maya accounts for example has also enabled women to gain financial freedom, control and power,” she pointed out.
The Quezon City government has provided e-commerce and digital package to 1,261 women-owned small and medium entrepreneurs through its various programs, such as the Tindahan ni Ate Joy for solo parents, POP QC for women artisans and QC Essentials for women livelihood groups.
“In order to help some 200 existing artisanal groups, 80% of whom are women, to continue doing business during the pandemic, we published five volumes of Made in QC with QR codes after each featured product, to guide customers in making online purchases through the official Instagram and Facebook accounts of the merchants,” she said.
Apart from facilitating economic activities for women, Belmonte emphasized that digitalization can also aid in helping women access much needed healthcare, especially for those who live in far-flung areas or have mobility issues.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the city government utilized an artificial intelligence system called BantAI COVID to monitor the health status of thousands of COVID patients enrolled in its system, and employed telemedicine program to help address the needs of women hounded by mental health issues.