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Empowerment | Women's Month Celebration Honors Modern Women as Heroes

The month-long celebration of women aptly ended with the gathering of the Philippines’ women agenda movement leaders – the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine Commission on Women, and the world’s biggest and most women-supportive beverage brand, Coca-Cola Philippines.

The Company recognizes the important role of women and their capabilities and potential as engines for development. Based on numerous studies, when women are given the opportunity to earn, they reinvest their income to the welfare of their families. The 5by20 STAR Program aims to empower women and promote their economic capabilities, and seize economic opportunities. We envision that economically empowered women would form part in the solution in breaking the cycle of poverty within families. We believe that women, given the right support and confidence, can make a positive impact, and make all the difference that the world needs.

During a special film screening of a fictional heroine, the beverage brand featured a short clip on the impact of their program, particularly the 5by20 Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program. The video underscored how the women, mostly mothers, became the heroes to their families by making ends meet with additional sources of income while being able to manage the household. Women reach their full potential when given a space that enables them to grow, women reach their full potential.

“Coca-Cola several years back acknowledged the fact that there wasn’t gender equality in the world and in the workplace, and though of what can we do more to drive that empowerment, and drive that mission. Not only did we talk about it, we actually put a goal in place called the 5by20 initiative—5 million women empowered by the year 2020,” said Winn Everhart, president and general manager of Coca-Cola Philippines.

“What I can proudly say that the Philippines has lead the way. This is the preeminent market where Coca-Cola is invested in empowering women through our 5by20 program. We’re now turning over 150,000 women entrepreneurs in the Philippines, and we’ll be hitting our goal of 200,000 by next year. We’re one of the global leaders when it comes to women empowerment,” he added.

The film screening was joined by top officials of the Philippine Commission on Women Commissioner Sandra Montaño and the Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Marjorie Jalosjos.

“Lagi ko pong sinasabi, hindi madali ang maging babae. Para kang superhero na kailangan magpalit-palit ng costume—minsan tindera, security guard, business woman, doktora, engineer, barangay captain, congresswoman, assistant secretary, kapatid, anak, nanay. We play very critical roles in society, so we keep our hopes, raise our children, and nurture our families,” said Jalosjos.

“The real heroes of today are the women farmers who till the land so we can have food to eat; women fisherfolk, women civil servants, women lawyers and judges, medical experts, women entrepreneurs, scientists, our mothers, sisters, at tayong mga maria, tayong mga Juana. The Philippine Commission on Women commend all efforts from our partners in celebrating women, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, economic status and religion. Truly, we can make change work not only for women, but with women. Let us remember that championing the role of women does not end every March. It is an everyday goal and aspiration that women will not be left behind,” said Montaño.

“Women micro-retailers or the sari-sari store and carinderia owners that we see in every street, every corner, are our everyday superheroes. They are literally the hands that extend our brand to communities. However, over and above their role as a store manager, they also juggle the role of being moms, wives, sisters, caregivers, and home managers. As we reach the summit of our Women’s Month celebrations, may we see every day and appreciate the role of extraordinary women in our lives,” said Coca-Cola Philippines sustainability manager Joy Munsayac.

The beverage giant also announced its support for the planned all-women led run for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay during Earth Day in April. Spearheaded by DILG and PCW, the run will create a venue for women to be able to express their support for the rehabilitation and cleanup of the iconic waterfront.

The 5by20 STAR Program has evolved to cater to several sectors including women in agriculture, women in the Women Economic Empowerment Program of the Philippine Commission on Women, distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through partnerships with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of the Department of Labor and Employment and the National Reintegration Commission of OFWs, beneficiaries of the government conditional cash transfer program or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development – National Capital Region, Artisan Women of Tondo, and for women who are in disaster stricken areas. The program also includes women micro-entrepreneurs who will undergo mentoring, or the Kapatid Program of the Department of Trade and industry and the civic group GoNegosyo.

Coca-Cola, with their 19 manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, and over 10,000-strong labor force, is proactive in promoting women empowerment through the 5by20 initiative. 

The 5by20 STAR Program is part of a global initiative that aims to economically empower 5 million women by 2020. The Philippines has a local target of empowering 200,000 women since its launch in 2011.

The Coca-Cola 5by20 STAR Program is implemented in partnership with TESDA. The STAR Program is designed for women micro entrepreneurs who own and manage sari-sari stores or carinderias. The Program addresses the barriers these women face and help them achieve business success. The STAR Program has three components: access to training, access to resources, and access to peer mentoring.

To date, the STAR Program has 390 accredited facilitators teaching and training women retailers to become better entrepreneurs. The STAR Program is being implemented in over 47 locations nationwide and has reached more than 140,000 women.