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8 March 2018

(L-R) National Public Radio Associate Producer Ashley Westerman; InterIntellectus NFP founder and game designer Pattie Umali; graphic designer Josie Thompson; and Embassy Gender and Development Officer Darell Artates are the panelists of the “Women in Creative Industries” discussion held in celebration of International Women’s Day at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex on 08 March 2018.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Embassy, in partnership with the Filipino Young Professionals of Washington, DC (FYPDC), hosted a panel discussion entitled “Women in Creative Industries” on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2018, at the Chancery Annex building.

“Our discussion this evening takes on an even greater significance as the Philippines joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, and considers the creative sector as a key piece of sustainable, equitable, and inclusive development,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said in his opening remarks.

“This Women’s Month, the Embassy has partnered with the Filipino Young Professionals of Washington DC to bring together three Filipino-American women engaged in the creative sectors. By sharing with us their experiences and insights, we hope to gain greater understanding of the remaining challenges facing women in these industries, the positive changes that are underway, and what more needs to be done in order to achieve gender balance and inclusiveness in these fields,” Ambassador Romualdez added.

The discussion was led by Josie Thompson, a self-employed graphic designer and partner of the joint venture Support for Success; Ashley Westerman, associate producer of Morning Edition at National Public Radio and a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists; and Pattie Umali, international education practitioner and founder of InterIntellectus NFP that aims to prepare individuals for global citizenship and the international workplace through technology, gaming, and media. The Embassy’s Gender and Development Officer, Darell Artates, served as moderator.

Panelists shared with the audience how different expectations for women and men affected them in their chosen fields. Stereotypes, compensation gaps, and barriers to reaching leadership roles are just some of the gender-related issues and challenges that they have encountered in their workplaces.

“I think that women have to unfairly pick their battles, especially women of color. We talk about this a lot in media, and in NPR, because I am a part of the diversity coalition of the NPR and we have a lot of things that we want to do. We want to be paid fairly but we also need more diversity, and so you have to pick and choose your battles,” Ashley Westerman observed.

“I think these days there are a lot of game developers who are of course gamers themselves who felt like social outcasts, and a lot of gamers enjoy identifying with the social outliers that are in characters in games. And so I do think that there are a lot of male game developers that are coming around and are starting to recognize that females should be recognized and appreciated,” said Pattie Umali as she shared her thoughts on having “male allies” in the creative industries.

“If an opportunity comes, you need to just say ‘yes’. Say ‘yes’ because at least it’s going to start something because you are in the room. That is a big thing, to be in the room,” Josie Thompson pitched in on what more needs to be done in order to make gains in gender equality.

The panelists also fielded questions from the audience. FYPDC President Christal Simanski officially closed the event and a simple reception followed the official program.

Part of the Embassy’s International Women’s Day 2018 celebration was the setting up of a special passport encoding station for female applicants, in line with the Philippine Government-wide “Serbisyo Para Kay Juana” initiative. ###

9 March 2018

Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez delivers the opening remarks at the “Women in Creative Industries” panel discussion held at the Philippine Embassy on 08 March 2018 in celebration of International Women’s Day.

9 March 2018

Members of the audience engage with the panelists in a brief Q&A session.

9 March 2018

Filipino Young Professionals of Washington DC President Christal Simanski delivers the closing remarks of the Women in Creative Industries panel discussion on 08 March 2018.

9 March 2018

A special lane for women applicants was set up at the Consular Section of the Embassy on 08 March 2018 in celebration of International Women's Day.