The Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) has joined the Zonta Club of Fort Bonifacio in its mission to empower women and fight gender inequality through a virtual forum entitled “Changing Lives through Science and Technology (S&T): Establish/Grow Your Techno-based Business”.

Screenshot from the “Changing Lives through Science and Technology (S&T): Establish/Grow Your Techno-based Business”

Held virtually on December 9, 2020, the forum was conducted in observance of Zonta’s “16 Days of Activism” campaign to offer information on science and technology opportunities provided by DOST-MIMAROPA that can help women become financially independent and be capable of getting out of abusive relationships and environment.

According to Zonta, the reason why many women opt to tolerate emotional and physical abuse from partners is mainly due to financial dependence on abusive partners and fear of not being capable to provide for themselves and their families. To break this cycle, women should be provided with more income-generating opportunities.

DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, who served as the key speaker for the event, encouraged everyone to harness science and technology in raising awareness of gender-based violence and support women economic empowerment by engaging them in technology-based income generating activities to improve their status within relationships and families.

Dr. Abilay presented several DOST-MIMAROPA programs and services including the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), Regional Grants-in-Aid Program, Food Innovation Center, Technology Business Incubator, Laboratory Testing and Calibration, Mentoring, Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST), and 2.0. She also showed several women technopreneurs assisted by DOST-MIMAROPA.

These programs are aimed at highlighting how science and technology can also address gender inequalities and discriminatory social norms by allowing women to exercise their choices and participate in employment opportunities.