Business Features

Enstack hosts forum highlighting female start-up leaders

In celebration of Women’s Month, Enstack, an all-in-one app for small businesses, hosted EmpowHER,  its first-ever forum for women working in the tech industry. 

Headlined by the topic “Conversations On Reengineering A Female-Led Future For Tech,” the event discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in tech as a way of opening more opportunities for women in the industry.

EmpowHER drew in participants from women working in different functions that fuel the tech ecosystem, from start-up founders, executives, venture capitalists, to government officials. The event featured two keynote speeches from government officials. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat discussed the importance of technology in boosting financial inclusion, especially for women-led micro-small medium enterprises (MSMEs).  

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“Filipinas lead and own the majority of MSMEs in the country. However, these women leaders still face several challenges in financial inclusion such as less economic participation, credit access challenges, and low utilization and knowledge of financial products. Addressing these challenges requires interventions in creating an enabling and empowering environment that allows Filipina entrepreneurs to thrive in a digital environment. Technology offers tremendous potential in bridging these gaps so we can set up more Filipinas for entrepreneurial success,” she said.

Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo underscored the importance of bridging the digital gender divide.

“Bridging the digital gender divide is a requisite of gender equality. But we cannot do this alone. When we talk about women’s rights, we also have to open the dialogue about how men can play a role in this cause; men need to be engaged in the fight for gender equality. We can achieve this by showing the value of providing equal opportunity for women, that women’s participation is critical in our society and our nation’s overall welfare,” she said. 

Inspired by the United Nations’ theme for International Women’s Day, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” women leaders in tech also lent their perspectives about the past, present, and future of women working in the industry.

Diversity’s role in powering technology 

“Diverse viewpoints lead to better technology. This Women’s Month, we celebrate the impact of women in technology and encourage the next generation of women technologists to drive innovation,” shares Stephanie Sy, Founder and CEO of Thinking Machines. 

Mentoring women to advance in tech and leadership roles

“It is pivotal for women who want to pursue their careers in tech to see that there are women leaders in these fields. Our job now is to help mentor and inspire the younger ones to continue to challenge themselves and continue cultivating their strengths.” shares Ruoshan Tao, Head of Marketing, Shopee Philippines. 

Empowering women leaders for inclusive fintech innovation

“Creating a more inclusive fintech industry begins with empowering more women leaders to offer their fresh ideas to spur innovation. Viewing the needs of the current payments landscape through a gendered lens allows us to see how we can create infrastructure that is equally accessible for both men and women,” shares Yangyang Zhang, Managing Director for Xendit. 

Fostering women-led tech ecosystems

“Women are the backbone of economies, and tech is no exception. We’ve seen this first-hand in our interactions with thousands of women-led SMEs that have been embracing digitization through our super app. By providing different channels to support these businesses and foster strong linkages among women in our ecosystem, we can unleash their inherent creativity to solve problems, fuel economic growth, and drive innovation,” said Enstack co-founder and CEO Macy Castillo. 

“While representation and participation of women in tech in Southeast Asia are relatively higher than in other parts of the world, we still need to keep track of emerging conversations on representation, access, and even policy. Through EmpowHER, we hope to contribute to the community’s collective goal of camaraderie, so we can all work towards a more inclusive future for the tech industry,” she added.

(In photo, from left) Ruoshan Tao, Head of Marketing, Shopee Philippines, Stephanie Sy, Founder and CEO, Thinking Machines, Macy Castillo, Co-Founder and CEO, Enstack, and Yangyang Zhang, Managing Director, Xendit Philippines.

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