In celebration of National Women’s Month, ARISE-Philippines in cooperation with SM Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Supermalls and Resilient PH, recently concluded the “Women Leaders in Building Disaster Resilience” webinar which highlighted the important role that women play in disaster risk reduction and management and the women leaders who have contributed to pushing for policies, projects, and programs that contributed to building national and community resilience.
The online event in keeping up with this year’s theme of #WomenMakeChange featured women industry leaders who have made strides in the fields of resilience and disaster response like Ms. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, President of the National Resilience Council; Engr. Liza Silerio, Vice President for Corporate Compliance of SM Supermalls and ARISE Global Board Member; Adelina Kamal, Executive Director of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance; and Atty. Lesley Cordero, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist of the World Bank. SM Cares Program Head on Women and Breastfeeding Mothers, Atty. Pearl Turley gave the Welcome Remarks.
In her Keynote Address, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and co-Chair of ARISE Global network, Mami Mizutori said.
“Women’s leadership is vital to reducing disaster risk and building resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted men and women differently. While men are more likely to die during the pandemic, women are the majority of front-line workers and more likely to be exposed to the virus and women experience a higher burden of unpaid care in domestic work and sadly higher rates of domestic and intimate partner violence. In order to recover from this crisis, we need women’s leadership at every level and in every sector, from national crisis committees to local communities, from politics to business, to public service.”
NRC’s Loyzaga mentioned the importance of a science-based, disaster response, especially in collaboration with the local government. She likewise highlighted noteworthy Filipinas in the field of science and technology who have contributed to climate and disaster resilience in recent years. “We stand really strong because of the work that these women are doing in order to advance the understanding of resilience in our country.”
Liza Silerio of SM, meanwhile, underscored the important role of women leaders in disaster response, saying that they have a better understanding of the needs of women, which are among the most affected during disasters. “I don’t think we can honestly say that one gender is better at leading than the other, but one thing we can be certain about is that women could understand women issues better.”
Speaker Adelina Kamal gave a few points supporting the need for stronger regional cooperation for disaster response in the ASEAN region. In this regard, she said that gender equality is key. “We need both men and women, boys and girls, to succeed, to change the headlight of ASEAN from being the ‘supermarket of disaster’ into countries that are more reliant on themselves and a region that is self-sufficient.”
Atty. Cordero of World Bank echoed Silerio’s sentiments on the importance of women leaders in disaster response and also urged women to continue pursuing leadership roles in this discipline no matter what. “If you find that there’s no seat for you at the table, maybe it’s time to bring your own chair.”
The webinar on resilient women and disaster response supports UN Sustainable Development Goals 5: Gender Equality, and 13: Climate Action.
ARISE-Philippines is the local network of the global private alliance of disaster-resilient societies organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). ARISE-Philippines is a volunteer network of private organizations committed to achieve the goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Agreement, New Urban Agenda and Agenda for Humanity.
SM Cares is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, with programs to support communities and promote social inclusion and care for the environment. Its CSR advocacies include Programs for the Environment, Persons with Disabilities, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the creation of bike-friendly SM Malls across the country.