In the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) celebration of Women’s Month last March 19, 2019, at Hotel Jen, Pasay City, the Executive Director of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay expressed strong support to gender equality and women empowerment as provided in Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) number 5. She echoed the global battlecry, “Think Equal, Build Smart, and Innovate for Change”.

Dr. Sumagaysay cited one of the programs of NRCP under the National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA) namely, Inclusive Nation Building, which integrates gender studies in various research topics like disaster risk management, agriculture, indigenous cultures, education, peace, governance, among others.

Other NRCP Initiatives to promote SDG 5
Early 2017, Dr. Sumagaysay initiated the inclusion of a gender criterion in the evaluation instrument for project proposals. This has encouraged and stimulated the integration of a gender lens in R&D programs, innovation, and other S&T activities of the Council

Moreover, last March 11, 2019,in its NRCP Annual Scientific Conference and 86th General Membership Assembly, with the theme “Humanizing the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the effects of cyber technologies, robots, chatbots and other components of the revolutionized industries on women were part of the scientific discussions.

On NRCP membership, she mentioned the sex-disaggregated data where women members (55%) outnumbered the men (45%) “With these in our sleeves, NRCP has been in effect strongly supporting the GAD initiatives of the DOST towards a gender-responsive environment in the agency,” Dr. Sumagaysay quipped.

DOST GADtimpla
She made a commitment that NRCP will support the DOST GAD program in various capacities and will contribute towards attaining a GADtimpala. GADtimpla is the appreciation and recognition of the efforts of the women and men behind the DOST GAD program. She challenged the agencies represented during the celebration to similarly conduct activities that will bring a GADtimpala award to DOST.

“There is more to do, farther areas to reach and new discourses to engage in. This is a challenge for all of us. The DOST gender initiatives will serve as our jump-off point, or take-off point, or the building block by which we can contribute to the attainment of SDG 5.”

She commended the various DOST initiatives towards promoting a gender-responsive environment in the workplace. These intiatives include the GAD Kit, GAD Help Desk, capacity building activities, GAD modules, DOST Speakers’ Bureau, the Day Center, and other interventions to empower the MSMEs. She continued to recognize the hard work of the GAD Program of the DOST.

A Powerful Invitation and Challenge
How do we help close the gender gap? Dr Sumagaysay, a member of the National GAD Resource Pool of the Philippine Commission on Women, powerfully closed her message of support with an invitation for all:

“As scientists and researchers, let us find ways to engage more women to use science and be inspired to innovate. Women are not simply clients and beneficiaries, they are part of the solutions. With their lived experiences, women are undoubtedly equipped with tools to address both practical and strategic gender needs. Get them all engaged.”

“Embrace the mantra: women innovating for change and for transforming lives through science, technology, and the arts. As we are all in this together, I leave these thoughts for you: let us imbibe the gender lens as a way of life, make it our second skin, and let us infect others the way viruses do. Let the inclusion of women in everything we do, be genuine and not just a mere token.”