In 2021, after the celebration of International Women’s Day in March, Meralco launched its Diversity and Inclusion program called #Mbrace. In an industry with a predominantly male workforce, #Mbrace aims to build a more gender-balanced workplace that recognizes the important role women play in society and the unique talent and skills they bring to organizations.
#Mbrace is part and parcel of Meralco’s Sustainability Agenda—called “Powering the Good Life”—which is marked by a distinctive focus on four pillars: Power, Planet, People, and Prosperity, and is rooted in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
#MBrace’s goals are aligned with SDG 5: Gender Equality and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. The program likewise fortifies Meralco’s commitment to the UN Global Compact’s Principle 6: Elimination of Discrimination in Employment, and supports the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles as well as the advocacies of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment.
Through #MBrace, Meralco aims to increase female representation in its workforce to 40% by 2030. In 2021, the Company achieved almost 23% women representation—more than twice the global energy sector average of 11%.
“#Mbrace, quite literally, aspires to help Meralco embrace and promote a gender-balanced workplace. This initiative is not simply about improving women representation in the Company, but also about empowering our women and giving them avenues to reach and live their fullest potential,” Meralco First Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer Raymond B. Ravelo said.
Meralco’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy
To further cement its commitment to advancing workforce diversity and nurturing an inclusive and safe workplace for its employees, Meralco recently established a Diversity and Inclusion policy.
Through this new policy, Meralco pledges to ensure equal employment opportunities for all and to respect all individual and value differences across gender, age, ethnicity, physical appearance, health, family status, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background.
“The Company believes that when its people are respected, valued, and treated fairly, they are more motivated to perform – delivering the Meralco core value of malasakit when serving customers and community,” the policy states.
The Diversity and Inclusion Policy extends to all areas of Meralco’s business, even across the Company’s subsidiaries and affiliates.
More female linecrew to join Meralco’s workforce
Meralco has also relaunched a recruitment and capability-building program for aspiring female linecrew members as part of the Company’s commitment to drive and heighten gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
The Meralco Linecrew Training Program (MLTP) aims to develop a pool of skilled female line workers, who are envisioned to eventually become part of the Company’s workforce.
Beginning May, a total of 16 individuals will be part of the newest batch of the MLTP and will undergo a series of lectures as well as rigorous physical training and endurance conditioning programs over five months, building and honing skills such as properly using manually operated tools and safely climbing Meralco utility poles. They will subsequently be assessed for hiring and deployment.
Meralco pioneered the training and hiring of female linecrew in Southeast Asia as early as 2013. The power distributor currently has nine female line workers who help deliver reliable electricity service to Meralco customers.
Charmaine Angeles, a member of the pioneering batch and currently a linecrew member at Meralco’s Valenzuela Sector, said that the program helped broaden her knowledge and experience in her line of work.
“I learned how to drive a truck, got along with my colleagues, and most importantly, helped in delivering electricity service to homes,” she said in Filipino, adding: “I believe that women are also capable of doing what men do. It takes courage, knowledge, positivity, and trust in oneself to be a successful linecrew member.”
Scholarship and employment opportunities for aspiring women technicians
To further the Company’s recruitment and capability-building program, Meralco and the One Meralco Foundation (OMF), its corporate social responsibility arm, partnered with Don Bosco College-Canlubang in January for a technician scholarship program that will benefit 15 aspiring female electrical technicians.
The program will cover the tuition fees and allowances of the students who will undergo the Technical Vocational Education Training Program for the dual NC II Program on Electrical Installation and Maintenance and Mechatronics beginning August. The program will also include a four-month on-the-job training for selected students, who will be given the opportunity to join Meralco’s workforce afterwards.
“This partnership comes at a time when we need it when our students need it—in a time of a pandemic. It is so beautiful that Meralco and OMF have a place for these young women during these difficult times,” Don Bosco College-Canlubang Rector Rev. Fr. Joel N. Camaya said during the virtual signing of the Memorandum of Agreement.
OMF President Jeffrey O. Tarayao, for his part, said that OMF has been “a witness on how women have led meaningful transformations for themselves, for their families, for their places of work, and for their communities” through their various projects.