As businesses continue to navigate the evolving complexities of international trade, Filipino manufacturing companies have embraced diverse talents that contribute to success and productivity. Many Filipino business leaders have put in place policies adapted from international best practices to help build a company culture that embraces gender diversity on the back of a growing body of research that shows organizations with more diverse workforce and leadership teams perform better.
“Research shows that if women are given the chance to contribute equally to the global economy, it would boost the world’s GDP by $28 trillion,” said Precious Milaor, UPS Philippines marketing manager. “One of the best ways to do that in the logistics context is to push for an industry that provides opportunities for women and supports the growth of women-owned businesses.”
In the Philippines, progress in female diversity has been more pronounced. The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 of the World Economic Forum report shows that the Philippines 16th out of 153 countries with the narrowest gap between men and women.
Marilou Navoa Ombania, Import and Export Head of UPS customer Ponderosa Leather Goods Co Inc., a leading export manufacturer of baseball and hockey gloves, says that it helps that her company places a premium on affording women the equal opportunity to excel.
“In our company, most of the department heads are women – our production manager, finance manager and the human resources manager are all women – and these positions are crucial in the operation of a big company like us.”
Ombania says to get the best out of her department, she considers every member to be family and each of them is given as much opportunity as the company has given her. “I believe that for us all to work effectively and productively, the environment needs to feel right and homely despite the stressful and fast-faced nature of our job.”
Marigold Marcelo Agustin, International Freight Forwarding Manager at Samsung SDS Global SCL Philippines Co Ltd. Inc, believes that she is able to thrive because her employer recognizes the importance of diversity in the workplace.
“Our company values people of any race and gender. Based on my experience, women are treated the same as men. We acknowledge the contributions and milestones of women employees, celebrating special occasions like birthdays, Mother’s Day, and even modest accomplishments at work.”
That emphasis on equality cascades down to her team. “Every one of them is treated fairly and given the chance to perform. I have always advocated sharing my knowledge and skills, to learn together and push my team to be better.”
Overcoming the challenges of the pandemic
With the suspension of baseball and hockey games in the US, many orders at Ponderosa were canceled. Ombania says the company’s earnings were affected but its management had doubled down on efforts to win back customers, and orders are returning.
“We have been using UPS services to send baseball gloves all over the world; to the USA, Canada, Asia, and Europe. They are one of our partners in delivering products that are all finely handcrafted and made with passion here in the Philippines.”
At Samsung SDS Philippines, Agustin says they have been able to navigate their way through “limited flights and vessel schedules and space shortages”. She says that with the company’s logistics partners, including UPS which also provides express service for Samsung’s semiconductor shipments, they have been able to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
The UPS approach to equality in international trade
“There is certainly a strong sense of belonging at UPS Philippines,” adds Milaor, “as we strive to promote a working environment free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. Our rallying cry is ‘You belong at UPS’ – meaning everybody; our people, customers and the communities we serve.”
“We’re proud to partner with progressive, like-minded companies such as Ponderosa and Samsung, which have taken steps to embrace gender diversity in their local operations.”
Did you know?
- UPS’s Proudly Unstoppable initiative celebrated International Women’s Month by featuring specially designed, limited edition UPS Express Boxes that feature the artwork of three female artists from around the world.
- The UPS Foundation committed more than $3.3 million in grants and sponsorships to advance programs supporting women’s issues in 2021.
- As part of its Women Exporters Program, UPS trained and coached 2,200 women on integrating their small businesses into the global economy in 2021.
The UPS Ignite program will strengthen 140 women-owned and underrepresented businesses through education, resources, networking and $100K in grants in 2022.