Who says cars and businesses are only for men?
Picture this: your knowledge and abilities were questioned just because of your gender.
Sounds very unfair, doesn’t it? Especially in a day and age where society has progressed to being more — but not completely — aware of issues on gender norms and equality.
Sadly, incidents of discrimination still persisted to seep through modern times.
Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo was in a similar situation way back in 2001, in a meeting with male executives of a foreign automotive brand she hoped to bring to the Philippines.
“You are a woman, what do you know about cars?”
Despite being thrown a sexist question, the fierce Filipina did not let offense get in the way of her business plans — she really meant business.
Instead, she replied with a question that turned the tables and sealed the deal:
“You are a Korean. What do you know about the Philippine market?”
Going back to the present, Agudo continues to fulfill her duty as the president and CEO of Hyundai Asia
Resources Incorporated (HARI), the company that brings Korean car brand Hyundai to the Philippines.
Initially an underdog in the Philippine market, Hyundai now dominates the country’s roads alongside popular automobile brands from Japan and the USA.
Agudo has also been the recipient of Ernst & Young’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011.
Sharing that particular experience at a discussion on “Unleashing Women Economic Power” at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in November last year, Agudo told her audience to “continue challenging and to reframe the social expectations and attitudes toward women and women leaders”, according to a Rappler report.
In leveling that field, she also said that “education is the number one leveler and penetrating strategy for women in a perceived male-dominated industry”.
In the academic year 2016-2017, the total number of female citizens enrolled in higher education was 1,992,855, as released by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Meanwhile, statistical table 5B of the April 2017 Labor Force Survey, indicates that 22. 2 percent of the estimated employed female population of 15,183,000 are in managerial positions.
Featured photo from Go Negosyo.