Australian Embassy
The Philippines

Remarks at the Opening of International Women's Day Trade Fair at SM

Trade Fair Opening marking International Women's Day

Remarks by Ambassador Amanda Gorely

Monday, 7 March 2016 at SM Aura, Taguig

Tessie Sy Cosen, vice chair SM investments corpporation

Annie Garcia, President SM Supermalls

Officials from the Department of Trade and Industry, National Economic Development Authority and Philippine Commission on Women

Representatives of SM Cares and SM Malls and Non-Government Organisations

And most importantly, the women who are showcasing their businesses at this trade fair

Tomorrow is International Women's Day - a time to celebrate the achievements of women.  

Today's trade fair at SM Aura brings together 11 businesses led by women to exhibit the handicrafts that they have created.

Australia has provided support to these businesses through our Direct Aid Program or DAP.  

The DAP program provides small grants to recipients to enable them to improve the quality of their business, their productivity and their livelihoods.  

When women are able to contribute to the household income it has flow on effects for the whole family, enabling better nutrition, healthcare and education for their children.

The women participating in the trade fair today embody an entrepreneurial spirit.  I am so impressed with the intricate beauty of the weaving, the innovative recycling of rubbish to make fashion accessories, the delicious fruit products and tea on display today.

I hope that the profile they attract by being here at SM Aura will enable them to further grow their businesses.

Australia is committed to supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women in the Philippines through its development assistance program.  As my foreign minister, Julie Bishop (the first female Australian foreign minister) says, it is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.

A joint ILO/ ADB study shows up to $47 billion is lost annually in the Asia-Pacific region due to women's limited access to employment opportunities.

The Australian Government has committed to ensuring that 80 percent of our development assistance performs effectively in promoting gender equality.

We do this in the Philippines by training and providing support to female teachers, providing technical assistance to the conditional cash transfer scheme, working with the UN to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Mindanao and Quezon City, helping women to become involved in the peace process, and providing dignity kits to women affected by disasters.

I am very pleased to announce today that the 2016 Direct Aid Program grant recipients were notified today.  Australia will fund 15 development projects worth PHP 13 million.

Maybe some of the women who received these grants will be here next year showing us what they have achieved.

I would like to say thanks once again to SM for working with us on this trade fair.  I would also like to say a big thank you to the women exhibiting their works here today. Salamat.  Thank you.