Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah “Mina” F. Pangandaman (File photo)

NEW YORK CITY – Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah “Mina” F. Pangandaman heads the Philippine delegation to represent the country at the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters here.

The CSW is the United Nation’s largest annual gathering that aims to address women’s issues and concerns including discrimination and violence against women, and promote gender equality, and female empowerment.

This year’s CSW will be held from March 11 to 22 with the priority theme, “Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of All Women and Girls by Addressing Poverty and Strengthening Institutions and Financing with a Gender Perspective”.

The Philippines will be chairing the UN CSW68 through Antonio Lagdameo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations.

Among the participants from the Philippines are officials from the Philippine Commission on Women, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Presidential Communications Office, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and civil society organizations.

Pangandaman, as the head of the Philippine delegation to CSW68, will lead the group’s engagement in the session’s activities. Her leadership will be pivotal in advocating for the Philippines’ priorities and highlighting the nation’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment on the international stage.

The DBM secretary is to deliver the Philippines’ statement at the general discussion. She is likewise set to deliver the remarks at the welcome dinner for heads of delegations attending the UN-CSW68.

Pangandaman is also scheduled to speak at the Ministerial Round Table on the priority theme to discuss mobilizing financing for gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, specifically on policies and strategies to end poverty.

She will also chair the interactive dialogue on the review theme, “Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services, and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls.”

In between these meetings, Pangandaman will also conduct bilateral meetings with various states such as Singapore, France, the Czech Republic, and Australia, among others.

As the first Muslim budget secretary and lone woman member of the economic team of President Ferdinand R. Marcos JR., Pangandaman has consistently advocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

In her message for the Women’s Month celebration, the DBM secretary encouraged women to rise into leadership roles, participate in efforts toward societal development, and create a powerful ripple effect in their communities.

“On the government’s part, we have been pursuing gender equality successfully. In fact, the 2023 Global Gender Gap Index (Global GGI) Report by the World Economic Forum shows the Philippines as the leading Asian country in narrowing the gender gap, with 79.1 percent, or 16th out of 146 countries, in gender parity,” Pangandaman said.

“I encourage all women to be champions of gender equality and to keep shattering the glass ceiling until we break through. For, as we empower women, we also advance toward a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future,” she added. (PR/PNA)