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Women leaders power up for a digital ASEAN

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Women leaders from Asia are leading the way in the fields of technology and finance as the sectors move towards digitalization.

This was highlighted during the launch of the first-ever Asia Pacific Agenda of The Women Future Conference, housed under the Dig

Asian women leaders in tech and finance gather for the Women Future Conference APAC Press Launch on August 24.

ital Pilipinas movement of GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications Inc. on August 24.

“We Asian women are highly educated and have a strong work ethic. We also have the tenacity to learn different languages, which is essential if we want to connect globally,” said Leila Martin, president of the first government-backed Digital Overseas Filipino Bank.

Martin underscored the positive impact of having women in leadership positions in fin-tech, saying this is essential for global connectivity, inclusion and collaboration.

The conference was moderated by Amor Maclang, former Stevie Award winner, convenor of Digital Pilipinas, executive director of the FinTech Philippines Association, and co-founder of GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications, Inc.

“We are all striving to work towards a future where we will be at parity in male-dominated fields for our hard work and talent, not for our gender,” Maclang said.

Women leaders who attended the press launch highlighted the importance of maintaining balance and making the fintech narrative more inclusive, especially for the underserved, which include fellow women.

A policy brief released by the International Labor Organization warned that the inequalities between men and women in the world of work that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic will persist in the future.

For Gae Martinez, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Insular Life, the role of Filipino women as gatekeepers of the financial well-being of their families is crucial to economic growth.

“Women professionals are family-focused, have strong foresight, and are self-development-oriented. These are the strengths of financial advisors and female employees that inspire us,” she said.

Pebbles Sy, Chief Technology and Operations Officer of GCash, said the Philippines is in a better position compared to some of its neighbors in terms of gender equality and maintaining representation for women managers and future leaders.

“Half of our senior leadership in GCash are women and it wasn’t intentional—we just hired the best,” Sy said.

Asia’s openness toward innovation and efforts to ensure transparency in regulation boost the prospect of creating products with a positive impact on society, especially for women, said Yang Yang Zhang, Managing Director of Xendit Philippines.

“Asia is a place that welcomes innovation and welcomes disruption. In Asia, there’s a spirit of openness; everyone’s moving more quickly, so people are more open. The Philippines is poised for hyper-growth, and the transparency in regulation makes sure that the growth progresses exponentially,” she said.

Wijitleka Marome, Deputy Director of the Fintech Department in the Bank of Thailand, underscored how women leaders are able to communicate and collaborate while striking a balance between innovation and regulation in the fintech space.

“Female senior executives can express their capability and competencies to support innovations. Regulations should not be the burden for innovations. Rather, the government needs to be there as back-up support with regulations and policy,” she said.

Shan Luo, Managing Director of Fintech Space Taiwan, highlighted the unique ability of women leaders to use their soft skills to manage difficult and highly-restrictive situations as they navigate the regulated space of fintech.

“We, as women leaders, have passion and patience [which are important because] the most difficult is the communication with regulators. It’s very important to have the soft skill in hard discussions. We think that you have to have a very innovative approach to work with the very restrictive regulations,” she said.

The Women Future Conference will be held from November 1 to 5, 2021.

For more information on what to expect during the 5-day program and on how to reserve your virtual seat, please visit


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