Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) Workshop 2016

Making Numbers Matter: Sustaining the Next Generation of Women Academic Leaders

On 22 and 23 November, over 20 senior administrators, faculty members, leaders in gender policy development and postgraduate students from APRU universities participated in the Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) 2016 Workshop hosted by the University of the Philippines (UP) in Cebu. This workshop was a continuation of the previous discussions at the Policy Round Table on Gender Equity held at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) in April 2016.

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Prof Odine de Guzman, Director of UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and Chairperson of the Workshop Organising Committee introduced participants to the two-day workshop. On behalf of President Alfredo PascualProf Joselito G. Florendo, Vice President for Planning and Finance of the UP System extended a warm welcome to all participants.

In her keynote speech entitled “Gender Equity in US Higher Education”, Prof Cindy Fan, Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement of UCLA, highlighted the issue of glass ceiling in academia where intangible systemic barriers prevent women from acquiring senior level positions. She also spoke about the pay gap between men and women holding the same faculty rank. To address the problem of a leaky pipeline where few women could rise to senior leadership positions, Prof Fan called for global commitment and the networking of like-minded individuals to effect societal changes.

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Prof Cindy Fan, UCLA, delivered her keynote speech on gender equity in US higher education.

Dr Rhodora M. Bucoy, Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), also delivered a keynote address entitled “Strengthening Equity Commitments and the Promotion of Women to Key Leadership Positions”. Dr Bucoy pointed out that while the Philippines outshined many economies in the global gender gap index and had high college entry and baccalaureate graduation rates for women, women were often left out in the process of rising to become academic leaders because of their multiple burden. She highlighted how universities, as a think-tank and reservoir of knowledge, could play a role in bridging the gender gap.

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Prof Rhodora V. Azanza (pictured right), Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Office of International Linkages of UP System, presented a token of appreciation to Dr Rhodora M. Bucoy.  

The workshop also featured plenary sessions and a panel discussion on the state of gender mainstreaming in higher education and gender equity in university administration and academic disciplines.

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Dr Amaryllis Torres
, Professor Emeritus of UP Diliman and Executive Director of Philippine Social Science Council, shared on the trend of gender mainstream in higher education in the Philippines and pertinent government policies.

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Dr Helen Lockey, Director of Educational and Institutional Intelligence of HKU, talked about achieving gender parity in Hong Kong’s first and oldest university.

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Prof Robyn Overall
, Emeritus Professor and Chair of Women in Science, The University of Sydney, discussed on accelerating gender equity in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine).

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Prof Michael Tan
, Chancellor of UP Diliman introduced the concept of “glass floors” where women are required to tread carefully when climbing up the leadership ladder due to various societal expectations on them.   

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Panel discussion on “Experiences in Promoting Women in Academic Leadership: University Administration and Research. (L-R: Dr Carolyn Sobritchea, Commission on Higher Education of the Republic of the Philippines; Dr Helen Lockey, HKU; and Dr Jean Saludadez, UP Open University)

Participants also shared their insights on gender gap issues they face and it was agreed that contextualized policies and tailor-made training programs should be in place. The workshop also acknowledged the importance of providing role models and mentors for women in academia as well as having strong spokespersons for gender equity.

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The discussions at the two-day workshop provided valuable insights and laid a good groundwork for the upcoming Gender Impact Report which will be an update of the 2013 Gender Gap Survey.

The next APWiL Workshop will be hosted by The University of Sydney from 1 to 3 November 2017.

Workshop program and presentation slides
Photo album
News article by UP