News Release

PCO highlights PH efforts in empowering women in digital landscape, modern technology

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) highlighted before the United Nations (UN) the Philippine government’s efforts in empowering women through digitalization.

In her speech, Undersecretary for Digital Media Services Emerald Ridao emphasized before the UN the need to break the barriers that limit the power of women in reshaping the digital landscape across the globe and address the challenges that are blocking their full potential.

“We believe that by addressing systemic barriers and challenges that women face, we can create a more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant digital media landscape that does reflect the full diversity of human experience,” Ridao, who represented the PCO in the gathering, said.

“I’d like us all to remember the power that women wield in reshaping the digital landscape, so that is safe, supportive, and secure for generations to come. I’d like also for everybody to remember that you do not need a huge follower base or tech-savvy video editing skills to become woman in digital,” she added.

For the Philippines, and as somebody from the government, Ridao stressed the government and the private sector must prioritize the implementation of policies and initiatives, that promote equality and diversity within the organizations.

Among the measures include efforts to address the “pay disparity” used to promote women to leadership positions and ensure a safe and inclusive work environment for women and girls through various women empowerment initiatives, Ridao said.

“In the Philippines, for example, in the Presidential Communications Office will be working with the stakeholders to publish a ‘Gender-fair Media Guidebook’ that will serve as a reference for both government communicators and the private to convey messaging in more gender-neutral terms, using language that is also sensitive to the experience of women in marginalize communities, women with disabilities, and women in conflict-affected areas,” she said.

“Next, and possibly more applicable to the day today, we must challenge and disrupt the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes and biases in media and in content,” she added.

Ridao cited some television stereotypes where women are portrayed as “overlay emotional, overbearing, or still exclusively the subject of sexual interest,” defeating the purpose of women empowerment and uplifting their role in the society.

The PCO official also cited the need to invest in education and capacity-building programs to equip women with skills to excel in digital media landscape. “And this does include access to digital media literacy programs. It does include mentorship programs, entrepreneurship support, anything that we can do to really help women navigate, to keep up with the fast-pace of changes in the digital industry,” she said.

Ridao said every woman “can be a woman in digital” if there is sufficient internet access, government initiatives and community support as she emphasized that women can make significant changes in the community if they are given enough support and digital access.

“And so, as we delve into the multifaceted role of women in digital, and for my part, especially digital media, I’d like to explore contributions alongside the challenges,” Ridao said, citing the powerful impact of Filipino women in the digital landscape.

Ridao noted that 62 percent of the 93 million active Filipino social media users are women who are shaping online discourse and culture.

Ridao said the advancement of the technology comes with the its negative effects. “The rise of the digital media has, of course, amplified these challenges with online platforms breeding grounds for hate speech, or the misuse of artificial intelligence for deepfakes and revenge porn, or even just harassment that disproportionately targets women and girls versus men and boys,” she said.

Ridao said women in rural areas who lack connectivity and affordable devices, deprive them of the ability to share their stories and perspectives and reinforces their exclusion from the very online discourse that directly impacts their lives.

The PCO delegation led by Undersecretary Ridao has participated in the “Going DigitALL: Women’s Empowerment through Digitalization,” a side event at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women held last Tuesday, March 19, at the UN headquarters in New York, USA.

The side event at the UN is aligned with women empowerment initiatives and programs of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., and as part of the observance of the National Women’s Month celebration. PND