APYExPHL takes a Big Leap into being Inclusive and Gender-Transformative

A month of preparation for the 9th APYExPHL program, the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange Manila Inc. team (APYE Manila Inc.) was invited to be part of “Solving the Riddle: Gender and Inclusion,” a capacity building training in support of this year’s International Day of the Girl celebration. The training was held last 10 to 11 October 2019 at the ADB Headquarters in Manila. It was hosted by the ADB Youth for Asia team and Plan International; other organizations such as UN Women and AIESEC were also invited to take part in the discussion.

The first day of training focused on understanding the attitude and knowledge that a person has towards addressing gender issues. It kicked off with an overview of sex and gender, differences and inequalities, and activities on the gender scale. The scale ranges from being gender-unaware (or biased) to being gender-transformative, which then implies that one tends to either produce stereotypes or fail in presenting differences between men and women. Other factors referring to the root causes of gender inequality were also emphasized in the discussions.

Keynote sessions on the roadblocks that girls and women face followed thereafter Among all the women keynote speakers, was Audrey Pe, the young founder and executive director of WiTech. She discussed her experiences as a teenage girl who wanted to go into the field of technology and how she had several setbacks with her aspiration of taking part in a male-dominated industry. Audrey, and all the other speakers were just some of the many gender transformative individuals who inspire and proudly give talks on leadership, gender-based violence, and women’s economic empowerment.

An Open Forum between the participants and the speakers also came about, where the environment became an open space for questions and sharing of insights. Most of the points raised revolved around knowing how the participating organizations can become gender inclusive. Other opinions shared were focused on young people and how they shouldn’t be tokenized, but rather, involved and given the chance to collaborate with dialogues on development issues.

The succeeding day of training centered on creating an advocacy strategy for APYE Manila Inc. and the other organizations that were present. This session allowed the participants to talk about how they could publicly campaign for their advocacies, build partnerships, strengthen media engagement, and attempt to lobby for policy change.

Since the training session entailed the celebration of the International Day of the Girl 2019, a gender quiz was also conducted in the ADB Library. It was then followed by speeches from Mar Coll ofADB Youth for Asia, and Iris Caluag of Plan International, where the issues on what marginalized and vulnerable women and girls are experiencing on a daily basis was tackled. The gender quiz, on the other hand, served an avenue to be more informed on current issues and statistics concerning the status of women. It also delved into topics on human rights and how it is connected to gender equality.

Overall, the two-day training program concluded on a positive note that allowed various organizations to share their insights on possible ways that they could develop for their projects and programs. APYE Manila Inc. is proud to say that these new learnings will pave a new road towards making our programs more inclusive and gender-transformative.

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