New tech, stronger support pushing more women to become entrepreneurs

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(From L-R) Veteran journalist Cheche Lazaro, entrepreneur Elizabeth Lee and International Olympic Commitee member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) — More and more Filipinas want to start their own business.

This is what entrepreneur and former automotive executive Elizabeth Lee told CNN Philippines "On The Record" on Thursday, as the world celebrated International Women's Day.

"I think a lot of information and tools are available now versus before," said the founder and CEO of local electric vehicle manufacturer EMotors.

"But starting your own business is easier now with far more gadgets and tools and resources," Lee added. "So if you are going to start a business, I think there is this global trend that now is the time to actually start something."

Lee said more than half of entrepreneurs in the Philippines are women, with the Department of Trade and Industry saying in 2016 that 53 percent of the country's 579,794 registered micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs are led by women.

Lee said this can be attributed to stronger female empowerment.

"Things have changed now," she said. "Younger and younger women are starting their own businesses, so it's more of like, "I want to be my own boss.""

Meanwhile, former athlete and International Olympic Commitee member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski said more Filipinos are "getting the message."

"Actually, Filipino men, when they're secure, they do allow the women to shine," she said.

"There are many things that women go through: pregnancy, childbirth; these are things that limit, in many ways, the physical things that we can do, especially in sports," she added. "But the men are now more accepting of successful women and I think, especially, in our country."

Cojuangco-Jaworski added that people in other countries look up to the greater openness in Philippine culture.

"Our women are quite respected and I think that if Filipino women also looked at themselves and felt that, "I can do more and be more," then the momentum will keep going," she said.

"There still is work to do, but a lot of it also depends on us and the way we see ourselves and the way we project ourselves and apply ourselves, so that men stop looking at us and say "woman" and just "peer,"" said Cojuangco-Jaworski.