“Education plays a key role in empowering women.” This was the statement of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo during the recent forum at the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit (ABIS) 2017.
The Hyundai chief executive joined her peers in the C-suite forum to discuss the critical role of women in driving inclusive growth in ASEAN.
“The challenge is to reframe social expectations and attitudes towards women and women leaders through long-term efforts in education,” said Agudo.
Agudo also called on Government and Business to solidify collaboration in creating new value for all. “As regards the operational environment, we need to enhance financial literacy and the nurturing of talent to run businesses. As regards an enabling environment, we need to explore ways to collaborate—share best practices, even the most disruptive and unconventional ones–in order to learn and benefit from digital disruption, in order to contribute in a relevant way to the region’s sustainable development goals,” she said.
The panelists were one in declaring that ASEAN is a front runner in women’s participation in the economy, and that, given equal opportunities, women’s skills and competence can match those of men in running an enterprise. However, they also observed that much work remains to be done to shatter ill-conceived socio-cultural perceptions of women, which can only be addressed through policies that put both sexes on equal footing in terms of access to education, finance, and the all-important digital connectivity.
Present during the event were moderator Chloe Cho, Presenter and Executive Producer of Channel News Asia (Korea/Singapore), Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of HARI, Teresita Sy-Coson, SM Investment Vice Chair and ASEAN BAC Council Member, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, UN Under-Secretary General (representing Pakistan), Dr. Hafsah Hashim, SME Corporation Malaysia CEO, and Sirina Sisombat-Hervy, Sinouk Coffee Managing Director and ASEAN Women Entrepreneur 2017, shared their personal journeys to success and insights on accelerating the participation of women in the digital ecosystem.