UN Women 2021 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards:
Meet the Regional Winners
We are excited to announce the winners of the first-ever UN Women 2021 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards!
Big congratulations to all the winners who have committed themselves to advancing gender equality and women's economic empowerment. These gender champions from different countries, sectors, and fields are acknowledged respectively for their outstanding Leadership Commitment, Youth Leadership, Gender-inclusive Workplace, Gender-responsive Marketplace, Community and Industry Engagement, and Transparency & Reporting.
*The UN Women Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards represents recognition of exemplary company efforts for gender equality and is limited to a designated category and a specific location and time period. Awarded organizations, alongside their products and services, receiving awards are not endorsed or affiliated with UN Women or WeEmpowerAsia and being recognized as an Awardee does not constitute a partnership. Claims, statements, or endorsements made by awardees are solely those of the individual or organization and do not represent official policies or positions of UN Women.
Divya believes women are key agents for development in rural India. Baeru enables women’s socio-economic empowerment by leveraging the power of design, technology, linguistic and regional context in Karnataka. Women are trained to collect, segregate and upcycle waste ensuring regular income and upskilling for them.
Cherrie Atilano is the Founding Farmer, President, and CEO of AGREA. She is also the Philippines Ambassadress on Food Security. Through Agrea, she integrated an intentional policy to include more women and youth in their Farm Schools. She developed modules to be more gender-sensitive by highlighting soft skills. In 2 years, AGREA and partners have increased women and youth inclusion from 50% in 2018 to 64% in 2020. As to date, they have a total of 1200 Farm School Graduates, of which 60% are women and youth. They continue to be more inclusive and are working on Siargao to be the first women-led agriculture island in the Philippines.
Intel has surpassed their RISE 2030 Inclusive Goals; women represent over 40% of technical roles at Intel and are on track to double the number of women in leadership by 2030.
1st Runners Up
When Arshia Ahmad Saqib became the General Manager of Human Resources and Admin at Engro Fertilizers in 2020, she was the first female head of the People Function in the history of the company. As a staunch advocate and expert in diversity and inclusion, Arshia launched a multi-faceted approach to drive gender inclusion throughout the organization. Among the many actions Arshia implemented, she personally committed to coach at least 10 women to take up C-suite roles and she runs a platform for women’s advocacy called ‘Cross the Line with Arshia.’ She also launched Women of Impact, which focuses on professional development and retention of women through coaching and mentoring. Under her leadership, a Core Team comprising of one General Manager from each function was set up to oversee and strategize gender diversity initiatives.
To ensure results, a target was set that for all hiring due to attrition or new position creation, the target is to fill 40% of them with female candidates. The breakthrough of hiring for 2020 has been the hiring of women in non-traditional roles where they were not previously considered for hiring before such as the hiring of the first female mechanic in Pakistan at the plant workshop, hiring of warehouse in-charges on the field in the supply chain, hiring women in field labs and hiring the highest number of women in 2021 in Product Management roles requiring considerable field travel. With Arshia at the helm, the diversity ratio at Engro Fertilizers has risen to 8% in 2020 from 5% in 2019. As of June 2021, this has already risen to 9%.
In 2016, Tawhida Shripoa left her 15-year career as a journalist to found Moner Bondhu, which means Friend of Your Mind, a unique and innovative social enterprise that provides quality, accessible and affordable mental health care services. Moner Bondhu prioritizes support for women and girls of all ages and socioeconomic background and provides free counseling services for those who cannot afford to pay. With a core team of 25 people, more than 100 counselors, mental health experts, advocates, psychologists, and psychiatrists, and 1500 volunteers, Monder Bondhu offers a 24/7 hotline. With the onset of COVID-19, calls to the hotline from women repeatedly mentioned gender-based and domestic violence, and many workers in the RMG sector called with reports of severe mental distress. Leveraging the team’s creativity, Monder Bondhu was able to shift to offering online support services. In 2020, Moner Bondhu saw a 300% increase in clients, and to date they have provided counseling services to tens of thousands of clients across Bangladesh.
The commitment to empower women from the underprivileged rural communities in economic and social sphere. Aparna has strived to implement gender equality holistically throughout the company’s operations. Internally, she established policies to ensure the company adopt inclusive culture in the hiring, training, and treatment of their employees. Externally, Aparna has commenced the tracing of TORAJAMELO’s supply chain, to ensure that their partners are also committed to the same social and environmental approaches. Moreover, she initiated to work with various partners and local communities to educate women and promote gender equality & women’s empowerment.