MANILA, Philippines — A champion of women empowerment, bemedalled athlete Geraldine Go-Bernardo is holding a virtual seminar that would help inspire her fellow Filipinas to engage in sports with the help of coaches and national athletes.
Dubbed Sport for Women’s Empowerment and Employment Program (SWEEP), the program aims to encourage girls and their respective communities to strengthen women’s sports and activities.
“Sadly in the Philippines, we are so used to the male-dominant culture, even in the national team they would usually give priority to training, or giving exposures for the male athletes and the women usually our second choice,” said Go-Bernardo, who’s currently the Deputy Secretary-General of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry – National Capital Region, Saturday in a Zoom interview with Inquirer.
“So, sadly, I thought that was normal, but going abroad or really opened my eyes and coming back, the commitment was to also Institute program so you don’t go to a program and not bring back something to the country.”
Speaking in the three-day event that will run from March 24 to 26 via Attendify are 2016 Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, International Olympic Committee Executive Board member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, Olympian Akiko Thompson-Guevera, and Ada Milby of World Rugby Council.
The event will also cap off the celebration of women’s month in the country.
Go-Bernardo, winner of two gold medals for dragon boat in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, said that going to the United States broadened her horizon to what women’s sports should be especially in the Philippines.
“I was in a program in the United States. It was a program under the then State Department, Secretary Hillary Clinton. It was like a program where they had to nominate or get candidates from different countries. Thankfully I made it, it was the Global Sports Mentoring Program which is Women’s Sports Leadership Program and there I think it really opened my eyes to the state of women in sports,” said Go-Bernardo.
“Women in sports, has a lot of advantages. Studies have shown that gives them positive outlook, makes them less prone to risky behaviors, gives them a leg up in life to be more successful. So knowing that, knowing that sport is an educational tool, then why can’t we give opportunities for women and girls to participate. We felt that, well, if this is what’s happening outside. Then can we deliver it. Well, not just for Filipinos but for the rest of the world but for the benefit of the Philippines, which is the main target.”
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