*Translations are unofficial and provided by Google translate
UN Women 2020 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards:
Meet the Judges
Marianne Olesen is the Senior Coordination Officer and Team Leader in the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Manila since July 2020. Prior to her current post, Marianne worked for UN Women in different capacities focusing on women’s economic empowerment, leadership and entrepreneurship, and as well as on the Sustainable Development Goals as a tool for gender equality. She has longstanding, multi-faceted experience from several UN and other organizations at national, regional and HQ level, with many years of experience in Asia. “We are all responsible for the SDGs – business too. And we count on companies to do their part in the way they promote sustainability and equality throughout their value chains – from the way they procure and hire to the way they produce and market. The companies that manage to do this well, are the companies whose goods we will buy and the companies that we want to work for.”
Nathalie Africa-Verceles, or Natsy, is the Director of the University of the Philippines Center for Women's and Gender Studies. She is also an Associate Professor of the Department of Women and Development Studies, College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines, Diliman. Natsy has a BSc (Honours) Economics degree from the University of London, a BA in Philosophy, an MA in Women and Development Studies, and a Doctorate in Social Development, all from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. “The engagement of the private sector through gender-transformative workplace practices is vital in the achievement of our loftiest aspirations of genuine gender equality and women’s empowerment. Over and above the positive impacts on businesses, gender equality and women’s empowerment are critical in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and in the enhancement of women’s autonomy and control over their lives, decision-making power, and ability to effect meaningful change.”
Atty. Jesus Gardiola Torres
Atty. Jesus G. Torres works as a public servant in the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) as Attorney V and concurrent Chief of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Center (ESCR Center). As the pioneer head of the ESCR Center, a specialist and oversight office established in January 2016, he oversees the development and implementation of human rights and legal support programs for vulnerable and marginalized sectors, such as the persons with disabilities, farmers, fisherfolks, workers, and indigenous peoples. Atty. Torres started working with CHR on September 14, 2011 and was assigned with the Legal and Investigation Office, wherein his work primarily involved fact-finding, rendition of appropriate legal measures to CHR clientele, and where his exposure included the emerging themes such as on the environment, business and human rights. He specializes in the fields of economics, business, civil, criminal, and human rights law. "The 2020 WEPS Awards provide an avenue for all stakeholders (businesses, governments, and rights-holders alike) to showcase and identify the concrete practices in gender-sensitive business culture. A gender-sensitive business is sustainable as it gives premium to an inclusive business and work environment, whereby diverse talents, individually or collectively as enterprises, are being recognized as innate to any human person and should be nurtured for the common good, regardless of stereotypes. Congratulations to the winners and the organizers!"
Cynthia, Executive Director of GCN Philippines, is a development worker with more than nineteen years of experience in public sector and social infrastructure projects, specializing in communication for development (C4D), programme management, joint programming, policy research, and social safeguards. She has worked in both cross-cultural and grassroots environments, immersed in programme and advocacy work on child rights, adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights, social protection and community-driven development, sustainable urban development, citizen monitoring and governance accountability, and climate change. At the turn of the post-MDGs era and the transition to the Global Goals, Cynthia worked with multiple sectors through the UN MDG Achievement Fund as the National Joint Programmes Coordinator, the UN Millennium Campaign as Campaign Head in the Philippines, and the UN SDG Action Campaign in Asia and the Pacific as Coordinator. “Taking corporate actions to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment underpins a strong business case for sustainability. Women have long proven their leadership in all aspects of society – including workplace. Empowering women is the best human capital investment that can ever be made.”
Maria Victoria C. Españo
Maria Victoria C. Españo, or Marivic, is the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A Grant Thornton). Before joining P&A Grant Thornton, she worked with the Department of Finance, Senate of the Philippines, and Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific. Marivic is a Philippine Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Management Account (Australia), Associate Certified Coach of the International Coach Federation and a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors. She is recognized by the Philippine Professional Regulation Commission as the 2020 Outstanding Professional in the Field of Accountancy. In addition, Marivic serves as a Board Governor of Management Association of the Philippines for 2020–2021, Trustee of Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines for 2019-2022, and a Fellow and Trustee of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Previously, Marivic was the 2018 President of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines. From 2018–2019, she also served as Chairperson of the Metro Manila Regional Council of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants. From 2015 to 2019, Marivic was a member of the Board of Governors of Grant Thornton International Ltd. "Given that women constitute a huge chunk of our workforce, it totally makes sense to help them achieve their fullest potential in order for our country to prosper. We need business leaders to champion the case of gender diversity and create an inclusive culture. Taking strategic actions that will be measured against clear set of goals is important to achieve real change."