This article was originally posted at 2019-10-04 17:01:16

La Serena, Chile. — “If we take good care of our women today,” says University of Asia and the Pacific Associate Professor Dr. Veronica Ramirez at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum in La Serena, Chile, “we strengthen the generations that will come after us.”

It was a happy moment for the Philippine government delegation and Dr. Ramirez, Holder of the UA&P CRC Professorial Chair for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work (PC-MOFW) – a research initiative lodged at the Center for Research and Communication and funded by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Foundation from 2014 to 2018.

Her research on the Common Health Problems of Women Overseas Filipino Workers was awarded first prize winner of the first ever APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize at the APEC Women and the Economy Forum in La Serena, Chile on October 1, 2019. The second prize went to Paula Poblete of Chile, who did a group research on intergenerational gender inequality.  The third prize went to Dr. Hong Jiang of China for her team’s study on episiotomy and childbirth.

A tale of two forums.

“If women OFWs can come home healthy,” she further said, “their hard-earned money from overseas work will not be spent on health problems. Instead, it can support family needs and possibly contribute to community development.”

Dr. Ramirez had gone to the La Serena Forum on the invitation of the Chilean Ministry of Women and Gender Equity and the Global Health Initiative of the German multinational pharmaceutical, chemical and life sciences company Merck KGaA, to present the study as one of three finalists for the Research Prize.

As the first prize winner, she is invited to go back to Chile on Nov 14-16 to present her study at the 2019 APEC CEO Summit in Santiago, Chile.

Strengthening migrant women at their workplace.

At the discussion in La Serena, Dr. Ramirez noted that the APEC has been creating opportunities for women to participate in the global economy, and asserted, “Now is the time for the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) to strengthen the women at their workplace.”

“Millions of women are now found overseas working for foreign families, thus, enabling other women to engage in work outside the home. As the OFWs contribute to our economy, they also become part of other nations’ socio-economic development.

“Since we cannot stop women from working overseas, we should support them in facing the challenges and opportunities of migrant work. We can address not only their health problems but also endeavor to make their workplaces provide occupational safety, health education and practices, healthy psycho-social work environment, and allow for work-life balance.

“We need women to be healthy and able to avail of wellness programs for specific occupations, at the very least.

“Collaboration among academia, private sector, and government can be achieved to promote inclusive economic growth for women. Academia can undertake more women-related research and disseminate them throughout the APEC. Based on findings, trainings and workshops can be given to target populations. The private sector can look into women employment and entrepreneurial practices to see how sustainability, savings and investments can be achieved beyond basic needs. Government can strengthen monitoring and evaluation practices and based on results, can demand effective implementation. It should raise health access and awareness for women aggressively, especially in areas that cannot be reached through easy means of transportation.”

More details about her study are covered in this previous article on our site.

What’s next?

Asked which women’s health topics she was interested in exploring in her next research project, Dr. Ramirez replied, “Freedom from mental and behavioral disorders and the promotion of psycho-social well-being of workers are manifestations of human development. The patterns of detection and treatment of mental and behavioral disorders among migrant workers have not been systematically documented. More importantly, the psycho-social support services for the well-being of migrant workers have not been given the much-needed attention. This is what I will focus on.” • Remi E. De Leon/CRC


The Center for Research and Communication is a research and consultancy group that partners with the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), drawing upon UA&P’s considerable human and knowledge resources to meet the research needs of businesses and development agencies throughout the Philippines. To find out more about CRC’s work with migrant workers, or about CRC’s research and consultancy work in other fields, you can contact Communications Officer for Research, Mr. Remi de Leon, by email at [email protected] .

Banner Image: 2019 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize Awarding was held in La Serena, Chile. 1st Philippines: Common health problems of women OFWs*; 2nd Chile: Intergenerational gender inequality by Paula Poblete; 3rd China: Episiotomy and childbirth by Dr. Hong Jiang.  Also in the photos are Chile Undersecretary for Women and Gender Equity, Carolina Cuevas and Minister of Sports Pauline Kantor, and Merck Gen. Mgr. Jessica Jirash.