Hyundai PH CEO cites value of women empowerment in ASEAN is immeasurable

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(left to right) Moderator Chloe Cho of Channel News Asia, Hyndai PH President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, UN Under-Secretary General Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, SM Investment Vice Chair and ASEAN BAC Council Member Teresita Sy-Coson, SME Corporation Malaysia CEO Dr. Hafsah Hashim, and Sinouk Coffee Managing Director and ASEAN Women Entrepreneur 2017 Sirina Sisombat-Hervy

At the recently concluded ASEAN Business & Investment Summit (ABIS) 2017 forum dubbed as “Unleashing Women Economic Power and Human Capital Development”, Hyundai PH president and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said that – “We live in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (V.U.C.A.) times but, just like a bag of tea, you’ll never know how strong you are until you’re dipped in hot water.” as she paid tribute to the strength of women in the face of persistent gender issues that beset ASEAN member states.
Being one of the most influential leaders in the local automotive industry, she was joined by her peers in the C-suite at the ASEAN Business & Investments Summit (ABIS) 2017 forum that focused on investing in education, global competencies on women for affirmative action to discuss the critical role of women in driving inclusive growth in ASEAN.

Moderating the forum was Chloe Cho, presenter and executive producer of Channel News Asia (Korea/Singapore), and Agudo was joined by other bigname panelists including SM Investment Vice Chair and ASEAN BAC Council Member Teresita Sy-Coson, UN Under-Secretary General Dr. Shamshad Akhtar (representing Pakistan), SME Corporation Malaysia CEO Dr. Hafsah Hashim, and Sinouk Coffee Managing Director and ASEAN Women Entrepreneur 2017 Sirina Sisombat-Hervy (representing Laos) as shared their personal journeys to success and insights on accelerating the participation of women in the digital ecosystem.

During the forum, the panelists all share the importance of women’s participation in the ASEAN economies, and with equal opportunities, women can take on leadship positions in running an enterprise. But much remains to be done to shatter the glass ceiling, with ill-conceived sociocultural perceptions of women besetting the business landscape. Solutions discussed include policies that put gender equality in terms of access to education and finance.

Agudo further added that education is the key to women empowerment and said – “The challenge is to reframe social expectations and attitudes towards women and women leaders through long-term efforts in education.” She also called on government and the business sector to solidify collaboration in creating new value for all. “As regards the operational environment, we need to enhance financial literacy and the nurturing of talent to run businesses. As regards an enabling environment, we need to explore ways to collaborate—share best practices, even the most disruptive and unconventional ones–in order to learn and benefit from digital disruption, in order to contribute in a relevant way to the region’s sustainable development goals.”



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