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Women’s Network provides a safe space for our female employees to connect and grow 

April 16, 2024

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Did you know that the Philippines has one of the highest levels of gender equality across industries?1 In fact, out of 146 countries, the Philippines is the 19th best-performing country in terms of gender parity, according to the Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF).2  

Despite this good standing, we can still do more to support women in the workplace and encourage their further growth and development. 

The World Bank underscores the need for relevant policies and programs to boost female labor participation in the Philippines.3 These policies and programs may include supporting flexible work arrangements, addressing gendered social norms limiting women’s access to the labor market, and providing alternatives to in-home childcare, just to name a few. 

Why women’s networks matter in the workplace

Establishing a women’s community or network is a simple yet meaningful program that can support women in the workplace. It provides a safe space for women to connect, support each other, and advance their careers. It also promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace, thereby helping break down the gender pay gap and forward gender parity.   

Women’s Network: A safe space for women and their allies 

True to our commitment to diversity and inclusion, MSD in the Philippines offers many initiatives and programs that help us achieve this goal, including a Women’s Network. To date, MSD’s Women’s Network has 10,000 members in 72 global chapters empowering women throughout the company. 

Women’s Network in the Philippines was formally launched in 2018 and re-launched last March 28, 2023, in time for the Women’s Month celebrations. The network is led by Jade Fortin, with co-lead Jonnabee Hular and core team members Lai Valenzuela, Nicole Tenorio, Sheila Perete, Julie Dequit, and Michelle Marcelo and country leadership team sponsors Roan Evangelista and Ma-an Galang-Escalona.   

The Women’s Network aims to empower and support the women of MSD to fully realize their professional potential and achieve gender equality through all levels of the organization. The Women’s Network aspires to be an engaged and influential community that unapologetically champions and inspires women in MSD to be their authentic selves, feel a sense of belonging, and realize their professional aspirations. 

“My passion lies in empowering women within our organization and creating a space where their voices are heard, valued, and celebrated. I am committed to fostering an environment where women can thrive, break barriers, and unlock their full potential. Through mentorship, networking, and professional development opportunities, we are building a community of strong and resilient women who inspire and support one another. Together, we will continue to shatter glass ceilings, cultivate leadership, and pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable future for all women at MSD,” emphasized Jade Fortin, Women’s Network Lead, Philippines.  .

Women’s Network activities reflect its three key priorities: business integration and insights, talent acquisition and development, and community outreach and social responsibility. 

Women’s Month 2024: #InspireInclusion

As part of the festivities for Women’s Month, the Women’s Network held a trade fair to promote and showcase up-and-coming female-owned and female-led businesses.  

They also distributed cupcake treats for their female colleagues on International Women’s Day last March 8, in partnership with HR and GWES. Through an #InspireInclusion Photo Challenge, we let our female colleagues and allies unleash their creativity by striking their best poses to depict what embracing gender equity looks like.  

In partnership with the Vaccines business unit, the Women’s Network has also launched the “Her Point of View (HPV) Cervical Cancer Prevention Lunch and Learn” activity. 

With cervical cancer as the second most common cancer afflicting women in the Philippines, the Women’s Network reaffirms its commitment to make cervical cancer a thing of the past through awareness campaigns encouraging women to get vaccinated and screened for cervical cancer as early as possible in partnership with HR, Vaccines Business Unit, CO and Employee Cooperative.  

During the second half of 2023, the network and their allies held Family Day and another Trade Fair, as well as an outreach activity called “Hair for Hope”, where volunteers can donate hair for cancer patients.

Lastly, the Women’s Network also held its Sister Circle locally called “Circle of Strength”, a safe space for our female and female-identifying colleagues and their allies to have courageous, bold, and inclusive conversations. For the last quarter of 2023, conversations delved into mental health, work-life balance, and balancing career and parenting. Additionally, long-term Women’s Network projects include the construction of an office playroom or family room, as well as improvements to the lactation room.    

Lighting the path for our female colleagues and leaders 

Indeed, the diversity of our colleagues enables us to better understand the unique needs of the consumers, healthcare providers, and patients we serve. Moving forward, we will remain committed to equity across gender as we continue to develop inclusive policies and programs that support women in the workplace and promote gender equality.

Want to know more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion? View our diversity and inclusion stories here.

Want a career where you can help invent for a more hopeful future? Visit our careers website today.


  1. BusinessWorld, Present state of women in the workplace, March 2023 
  2. Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Women in the workplace: Paving a better landscape in the labor force, March 2023 
  3. BusinessWorld, Present state of women in the workplace, March 2023