Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Filipino women engage with the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women, Inc.

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To foster closer linkages with women’s organizations and groups in New Zealand, Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez together with Ms. Agnes Espineda, President of Zonta Club of Wellington and Director, New Zealand Philippines Business Council in Wellington, Ms. Billie Searle, Project Director Petone Lions Club, Ms. Viluz Gray, Social Director, Petone Lions Club and Ms. Normita Armstrong, Director/Secretary, Kapiti Coasters Filipino Sports and Social Club attended the 75th Anniversary Dinner of the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) on 25 April 2014 at the James Cook Hotel in Wellington. This was followed by the 50th Annual Conference 0f BPW NZ on 26-27 April 2014. BPW NZ, Empowered Women Leading Business, was formed in Wellington in 1939 and continues to be in the forefront of drawing women in various businesses and professions into the mainstream of civic, national and international affairs, actively participating in legislation and linking up with the United Nations and international organizations on matters of direct relevance and great interest to women’s development, protection and empowerment, engaging with communities and groups and enhancing cooperation and goodwill with other business and professional women in other countries. The 75th Jubilee Dinner and 50th Annual Conference was hosted by BPW NZ Upper Hutt.

During the BPW NZ’s Anniversary Dinner, Ambassador Benavidez and the Filipino women interacted and networked with the officers, members and guests in an evening featuring the recitation of the ANZAC Poem by Deputy CPC Chair, Christine Edney, speeches by BPW NZ President Carolyn Savage, BPW International President Freda Miriklis and BPW Upper Hutt President Christine Edney, BPW Collect led by BPW NZ Vice President Issues Vicky Meeney, Grace by Life Member/Past President Audrey Harris, Keynote Address by MP Louisa Wall, Award Winning Sportswoman and Presentation of BPW NZ Awards.

Following these BPW NZ events, Ms. Searle together with Ms. Hellen Swales, Chair for Legislation, BPW NZ and Upper Hutt City Councillor, Ms. Gray and Ms. Leonie Dobbs met on 1 May 2014 to consider the steps, timeline and procedures for the setting up of BPW NZ Wellington. In engaging actively with the Philippine Embassy, Ms. Searle and the Filipino women acknowledged and appreciated the full support and invaluable assistance of Ambassador Benavidez and the Philippine Embassy Team in promoting women’s development, empowerment, protection, greater awareness and understanding of migrant women’s rights and the importance of connecting and networking with one another in pursuing the collective goal of gender equality and advancement of women across all sectors and nationalities.

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