By Ada L. Mabilangan, Program Chair

Empowering Women Scholarship Program (EWSP) was launched on March 30, 2009 by Zonta Club of Makati & Environs Foundation, Inc. (ZCME) on the rationale that through education the root causes of violence against women and girls can be prevented.

From an initial 10 scholars, EWSP has graduated a total of 74 scholars from the Polytechnic Institute of the Philippines during a five-year period from 2010 to 2015. All had passed the board exams and are now gainfully employed.

As part of its advocacy, ZCME sponsored a seminar for 24 EWSP scholars conducted by Prof. Carmen “Pinky” Valdes entitled “Break the Silence: NO to violence against women; NO to teenage pregnancy, NO to early marriage.” The seminar aimed to equip these young women with the knowledge of their rights, especially when confronted by domestic and other forms of violence against them. They were made to understand the cultural and psychological root causes of violence against women, coupled with finding effective mechanisms to ensure their eradication. Prof. Valdes also talked on teenage sexuality and the pitfalls of early marriage, which are the current thrusts of Zonta International toward the empowerment of women.

By choosing careers in male-dominated fields, EWSP scholars are showing the way towards gender equality. Since they are often the major breadwinners of their families, EWSP has had a direct impact not only on their lives but on those of their families as well.

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