The Philippines has taken significant strides towards promoting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, but there is still much work to be done. Women are now able to make major purchases and there is a rise in women-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). However, women face challenges in accessing financing, technologies, and markets, hindering them from investing in and venturing into entrepreneurship.
At the recent #EmbraceEquity Women’s Summit hosted by CNN Philippines, Marla Garin-Alvarez, Vice President and Head of Sustainability at BDO, shared insights on how women consumers and entrepreneurs drive MSME growth in the country. She revealed that 48% of BDO’s auto loans and home loans come from women clients, yet these products are usually marketed to men. She also highlighted that a majority of BDO’s MSME clients are women-owned, with women accounting for 66% of their total client base.
“We need to ensure that women are able to explore opportunities for them to contribute to the economy. We are proud that we support women as consumers and as entrepreneurs through products and services offered by BDO,” Garin-Alvarez said.
While women are represented in the workforce and leadership, there is still a wealth accumulation gap. Women need financial and non-financial services such as financial literacy in banking, investments, inheritance, and property ownership to build their wealth. From BDO’s experience, women entrepreneurs have a better repayment history. Thus, providing adequate support to women entrepreneurs is crucial to encourage more of them to venture into entrepreneurship that will bring growth to the economy.
Creating a more enabling environment for women consumers and entrepreneurs requires greater collaboration between the government, financial institutions, and the private sector. Access to finance, mentoring, training, and networking opportunities will help women consumers become more financially independent and women entrepreneurs to start or scale their businesses. Let us continue to empower women and embrace equity for a stronger and more inclusive economy in the Philippines.