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Embracing Equity: The collective commitment of Filipinas in the UAE

In the United Arab Emirates, Filipinas have raised the bar and broken glass ceilings to represent women in different industries. The Filipino Times shares how Pinays take part in a collective commitment to empower all women.

As the world celebrates the International Women’s Month this March, we reflect on the many accomplishments of Filipina women here in the United Arab Emirates.

Unlike anywhere else in the world where women face various challenges in the workplace, such as unequal pay, discrimination, and limited opportunities for advancement, the UAE leads in ensuring that women are given equal rights to advance in their careers.

A perfect example of women who are able to break barriers and excel in their chosen field is Dr. Karen Remo, CEO of New Perspective Media Group and The Filipino Times. Dr. Remo has been an exemplary figure in the media industry and has received several awards, including Female Leader of the Year in the Middle East in 2019.

Dr. Remo leads the way in ensuring that women are empowered in her line of business. She believes in diversity and equity, and her company is proud that its employee ratio is 50/50 males and females.

She said, “Much has been accomplished in raising awareness for gender equality, but the work is far from over. Today, we are joining conversations surrounding ‘Why equal opportunities aren’t enough’ and ‘Why equal isn’t always fair.’ In all of our initiatives, we value and support ‘differentiation’ – knowing it is a necessary and positive element of life.”

Dr. Karen Remo Founder and CEO of New Perspective Media Group
Dr. Karen Remo, Founder and CEO of New Perspective Media Group 

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Penn Policarpio, Zone Head for Sanofi Consumer HealthCare Turkey-Middle East, is “proud to be representing female leadership in this part of the world.” She is the Zone Head- Turkey Middle East at Sanofi Consumer Health Care.

For her, amplifying women globally means practicing equity.

“To me, equality is fairness, and equity is inclusion. If we give those who are unrepresented opportunities, resources, and inclusion, over time, you will see that they will have confidence and that they will grow. This is important because in a society, even in the workplace, the more inclusive you are, the more productive the company is.”

She advises women to select and focus on two-three things that they are most passionate about to achieve growth.

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Penn Policarpio, Zone Head for Sanofi Consumer HealthCare Turkey-Middle East,

Taking on leadership roles

Marian “Bobbie” Carella, Chairman Emeritus of PBC-DNE, has been the Chairman of Philippine Business Council-Dubai for the past eight years.

She said, “My role as chair of the council has presented me with many challenges. Nevertheless, I am extremely fortunate that this leadership position came my way in Dubai, a country that has a strong commitment to gender equality, inclusion, diversity, and tolerance. Thus, I have not faced any gender-related issues.”

Carella advises women to believe in themselves, seek out opportunities, build their skills, find a mentor, network, be confident, and stay persistent.

“Women have unique strengths, skills, and perspectives that can bring significant benefits to the table. By taking on leadership roles, women can bring positive change, inspire others, and make a significant contribution to their communities, workplaces, and the world.”

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Marian “Bobbie” Carella, Chairman Emeritus of PBC-DNE

Balancing personal life and career

More and more Filipinas are leading in their respective businesses. Dr. Mary Jane Alvero, Circle of Excellence Awardee, Global Filipino Executive of the Year Category Asia CEO Awards 2020, is an example of a successful female entrepreneur.

Dr. Alvero is the CEO of Prime Group, a group of companies that offers business consultancy, healthcare, food and beverage, and real estate services.

She said, “Time management by organizing and planning how to divide my time between my personal life and career. My priority is my children. The business is secondary for me because I have a strong team that supports me and moves the company toward achieving our goals. Also, I set my priorities and choose the activity that will make me more productive and brings more value to me.”

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Dr. Mary Jane Alvero, CEO of Prime Group

Women uplifting Women

Hannah Banares is a 46-year-old overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who has not only performed on one of the biggest global stages in the Global Village but also shares her passion for helping other OFWs.

In 2020, Hannah found herself stranded in the UAE after her flight was canceled due to the pandemic. She was deeply moved by the homeless people she saw in Union Park, where she went to exercise every morning. She asked herself, “How can I help those people?”

Hannah prayed for a sign from God and found her answer through her talent: dancing. She messaged her fitness coach and offered to teach zumba dance to all fitness members at the park, asking for their help in feeding the homeless people.

Hannah’s efforts paid off, and they were able to feed the homeless every Friday and Saturday morning.

Hannah’s story is an excellent example of women uplifting women. She used her talent to help others, and her actions inspired others to do the same. By working together, women can make a significant impact on their communities and the world.

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Second from left: Hannah Banares, Performer at Global Village

Empowered to Express Themselves

Kate Aaliyah is a true inspiration for young women who want to make their mark in the world of fashion. Growing up in both Emirati and Filipino cultures, Kate developed a unique perspective that fueled her passion for expressing herself through fashion.

Today, she is using her talent and kindness to empower other Filipinas who aspire to pursue a career in the UAE fashion scene.

From admiring women in magazines, music, and television to winning pageants, Kate has built an impressive network while staying grounded. She has even had the privilege of wearing gowns from multi-award-winning fashion designer Michael Cinco.

In addition to her successful modeling career, Kate is also a gifted singer and songwriter. She recently signed a contract with a Philippine-based talent agency that represents a huge pool of Filipino stars.

Kate believes that fashion is a powerful form of self-expression that can empower women who may not always have the words to speak for themselves.

As she puts it, “Fashion is the language of expressing yourself through the art of appearance…it truly does help empower a woman as there are times where we can’t say too much about ourselves, so we let our clothes do the talking.” Kate’s story is a testament to the power of fashion to empower the next generation of women who are eager to express themselves and make their own mark in the world.

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Kate Aaliyah, Former Fashion Model, Artist

UAE’s Filipina community has broken glass ceilings and continues to inspire women to pursue their dreams and achieve success in their careers.

These women are not only successful in their respective fields but are also dedicated to empowering other women and making a positive impact on society.

Their stories are a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and determination.

The Filipino Times wishes all women in the United Arab Emirates a Happy International Women’s Month.

womens month

Women have Superpowers.

Women in the UAE inspire others to recognize their unique abilities and utilize them to achieve personal and professional growth.

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Tapping into our Authenticity

“Whether a man or a woman, authentic leadership is one of the strength one can have. In business/life, we encounter lots of challenges that can stretch us to adapt and to change. We can adapt/adjust but never at the expense of losing ‘who we really are’ – self-awareness and sticking to our values and purpose should drive the precedence above all.”

Penn Policarpio, Zone Head for Sanofi Consumer HealthCare Turkey-Middle East Location: Dubai

Heart of Gold

“In different ways, I think all women are gifted with inherent power, and how she wields that power to benefit others is what matters. Working with various NGOs, I’m grateful for having the opportunity to help hundreds of schoolgirls and mothers belonging to low-income families in the Philippines to be able to afford a land where they can build their own home. I believe that addressing basic human need is fundamental to empowering people.

Jorhie Alban, Head/Director of Communications & CSR for Greater Gulf at Sanofi

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Jorhie Alban, Head/Director of Communications & CSR for Greater Gulf at Sanofi

Being Purposeful

I live my life with a strong sense of purpose, having the mental clarity to determine what I want to achieve professionally and personally. As a working mom, I wear multiple hats each day to juggle various tasks; hence, it is imperative for me to stay focused and not get distracted by all the noise around me. I set my own direction guided by the principles of ikigai: what I love (passion), what I’m good at (profession), what the world needs (mission), and what I can be paid for (vocation). It’s about bringing meaning and joy to my everyday life.

Roxane Martin Negrillo, Executive Business Director, PHD UAE

oxane Martin Negrillo, Executive Business Director, PHD UAE

Emotional Intelligence

It sums up how I grew in my career as a Pastry Chef. Growing a career in this male dominated industry is not on easy lest. However being able to adapt to the challenges ahead and putting yourself to other’s shoes to make sound decisions helps me manage my team and understand them better. Even on creating new desserts and pastries I also consider how I can make an impact to the guest or to my team.

Veronica Christine Victorio, Pastry Chef, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai, UAE

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Veronica Christine Victorio, Pastry Chef, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai, UAE


My greatest superpower as a woman is existence. We as women are here. We are present. That we live and breathe is already a force, everything else is extra.

Danabelle Gutierrez, Writer

Danabelle Poet
Danabelle Gutierrez, Writer


If I was able to choose a superpower, definitely STRENGTH would be the best superpower for me. As a mother and an OFW it’s very hard to be away from your family especially from your daughter but I need to be strong for her. I didn’t regret anything that I’m here in this beautiful and safe country. Here I am more stronger in which I’ve encountered a lot of trials in which I didn’t encounter in my life.I need to be strong also to help those who are in need as long as I can. As what I’ve said before in my other interview, even im tired after work I will not stop doing my zumba at the park for free in which in that way i can help or feed homeless people with the help of my members.

Hannah Belmis Banares, Performer at Global Village

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Hannah Belmis Banares, Performer at Global Village

Read more: Women’s Month Inspiration: 10 Quotes to Ignite your Empowerment and Fuel your Success

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Justin Aguilar

Justin is a former TV News Reporter for ABS-CBN News in the Philippines where she covered news stories and reports for TV and radio programs such as ANC, TV Patrol World, Umagang Kay Ganda, Bandila, and DZMM Teleradyo. She enjoys capturing people’s hearts by highlighting the excellence of Filipinos in her stories and bringing the latest updates to both OFWs and global readers of The Filipino Times. Want to share your story? Reach Justin on Facebook: or send your story at: [email protected]

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