News and Events

AIM, ASEAN Foundation, and DFA PH hold conference on economic empowerment of ASEAN women

5 February 2016 – The AIM Stephen Zuellig School of Development Management (ZSDM) is working with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the ASEAN Foundation, and the Japan-ASEAN Solidarity Fund on a research project entitled “Regional Study of the Economic Participation of Women in ASEAN.” In line with supporting the mainstreaming of human rights across the three pillars of the ASEAN community, this research project aims to assess the current level of female economic empowerment, and identify and address existing barriers to women’s economic participation.

As part of this research project, ZSDM conducted a two-day conference last January 28-29. This conference gathered representatives from each ASEAN Member State to get their feedback about the regional study, and to validate the results of the key informant interviews and focus group discussions with select groups.

Nine (9) countries were represented during the conference. These were Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The participants are from government and/or private sector organizations concerned with the subject of women entrepreneurship.

Day 1


Prof. Juan Miguel Luz (School Head of ZSDM), Ms. Mae Catibog (Program Officer of the Japan International Cooperation Agency), and Mr. Lemuel C. Lopez (Principal Assistant under Summitries and ACC of the DFA) welcomed the participants and opened the program proper.



Prof. Jamil Paolo Francisco, PhD, part of the AIM core faculty in Economics, then introduced the participants to the conference by giving an overview. Ms. Angie Zafra discussed the background of the study, and Ms. Cherry Frondozo presented the initial findings. This was followed by questions from the participants regarding the study content and the initial findings.


After the introductory messages, the participants were grouped into ASEAN-wide Focus Group Discussions (FGD) by sector, headed by researcher-facilitators, Mr. Edwin Hatta (CSO/NGO), Ms. Angie Zafra (SMEs), and Prof. Brenda Furagannan (Women’s Groups).

Day 2


Prof. Francisco opened Day 2 with short welcome remarks before introducing the day’s key speaker. Ms. Tae Abe-Abion, a Japanese woman entrepreneur in the Philippines and an AIM alumna, spoke about her experiences as an economically-empowered woman.  She shared the differences in the norms, policies and resources between Japan and the Philippines, as well as her “guilt” on whether her decisions towards economic empowerment contribute to the increasing social divide in the country rather than help alleviate it. Her talked sparked discussion, and the women participants also shared their experiences and insights coming from their country's contexts.

The program then moved to discuss the results of Day 1’s FGDs. Facilitated by Ms. Elaine Tolentino, each sector shared their main discussion points on their sector’s initiatives, successes and gaps to address, and opened the discussion for specific experiences per country.

Mr. Edwin Hatta capped off the conference with a synthesis of all discussions, followed by the recognition of the funders and organizing partners.


For more information about the conference, you may contact Ms. Cherry Frondozo at




Very much worthwhile conference, monitoring and evaluation are needed

Post a comment