In solidarity with the ‘Purple Your Icon’ advocacy initiated by the PCW, several iconic SM landmarks and malls across the country lit up in purple to support the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment for a brighter future.

On March 1, it all started with a Safe Spaces Act discussion at the Skydome of SM North EDSA. Attended by SM employees, and stakeholders; the event was a strong reiteration of the whole SM Group’s commitment to promote this Bawal Bastos law, and stamp out sexual discrimination and harassment of any kind within the physical spaces of SM. The orientation seminar was an eye-opener to the rights of women and the LGBTQ community on the kind of protection afforded them by the law, their legal rights; and the responsibilities of the establishments that are open to the public.  


Department of Labor and Employment Undersecretary Atty. Benjo Santos M. Benavidez and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. Assistant Vice President and Program Director Jessica Sy

A wonderful United Nations (UN) exhibit of ‘Walk In Her Shoes’ was launched at SM North EDSA on that same day of March 1. It was a potent pictorial display of the diverse roles and challenges that women face on a daily basis up to this day, and a stark reminder of how so much still has to be done to bring equality and respect on a footing that we all know it should be.


UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez at the opening of the ‘Walk in Her Shoes’ exhibit.

International Women’s Day is March 8, and an enlightening full day program was held at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura. The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), UN Women, and SM Supermalls left no stone unturned in creating a virtual eye-opener on the great strides Filipino women are making today. Leanne Robers, co-founder of She Loves Tech, the biggest global startup competition, flew in from her native Singapore to tender an inspirational talk; and no less than Senator Loren Legarda was a keynote speaker during the day. 


Keynote speaker Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda (third from left) with (from right): SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, UN Women Country Programme Coordinator Rosalyn Mesina, PCW Officer-in-Charge Atty. Khay Ann Magundayao-Borlado and Deputy Executive Director Kristine Balmes, and moderator Bernadette Sembrano


SM Supermalls President Steven Tan and Singapore-based She Loves Tech co-founder Leanne Robers

More than 5000 participants at the Women’s Run PH at SM by the Bay on March 10 fueled an early morning ‘happening’. SM Supermalls and the Filipina CEO Circle were behind this great outpouring of health, fitness, and woman power. There was a 1k Kids Run, a 5k Ladies Run, a 10k Ladies Run for the more experienced, and a fun 10k Buddy Run for male-female pairs. One great photo was that of a 76 year old woman who joined the run, and left those younger than her in her ‘dust’. 


The success of the Women's Run PH at SM By the Bay underscores the growing importance of women's health and fitness initiatives. The event not only promoted physical well-being but also fostered a sense of community and unlocked potential among Filipina participants.


76-year-old runner Linda Ogsimer proved that diligence in running knows no bounds.

The Ides of March, March 15, was all about Women and Art. In the early afternoon, Senator Grace Poe and French Ambassador Marie Fontanel opened a beautiful exhibit, #Women2024: Empower Her Palette, at the Podium. It was a French-Filipino collaboration that involved the Embassy of France, Spark! Philippines, and The Podium, and featured Filipino and French women artists. It was a visual exercise in bridging cultural divides. 


Senator Grace Poe (center), is joined by (from left) SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, French Ambassador Marie Fontanel, SPARK! Philippines Executive Director Maica Teves, and curator and artist Kim Lim at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of ‘Empower Her Palette’.


Curator and artist Kim Lim’s ‘They’re lining up to haunt you’ and French artist Amélie Beral’s ‘The King’

March 15 also signaled the culminating event for this year’s first Sining Filipina art competition and exhibit. The first all-female art competition in the country, Sining Filipina was made possible by SM Supermalls and BDO, for the benefit of Zonta Makati and Environs. From over 700 submissions, the highly motivated judges had to pick the winners over two categories – figurative and non-figurative; and curate the exhibit of over 70 artworks. Everyone gathered was so impressed with the result, and they declared the competition as yet another SM milestone in women empowerment. Hopefully, it’s a milestone that will become a regular in SM’s Women’s Month calendar.


Winners of the Non-Figurative and Figurative categories: (L-R, front):  Maria Gemma San Jose (1st place, Non-figurative); Ma. Christina Baltero (3rd place, Figurative); Hanna Joy Sayam (1st place, Figurative); Isabelita Rodillo (3rd place, Non-Figurative); Maria Melissa Sangoyo (2nd place, Non-figurative); and Luckyshia Jenielou Canonigo (2nd place, Figurative). At the awarding ceremony were (L-R, back): SM Supermalls’ President Steven Tan, Singapore Ambassador Constance See, British Ambassador Laure Beaufils, SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation President Elizabeth Sy, US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, Zonta Club of Makati and Environs President Jeannie Abaya, and BDO Private Bank President Albert Yeo


From L-R: Maria Gemma San Jose from Ilocos Norte and her artwork entitled “Layers of Experience” (upper left) won top honors in the non-figurative category and Hanna Joy Sayam from Negros Occidental was awarded the grand prize in the figurative category for her artwork entitled “Pira-pirasong Tela ng mga Marias.”

Women’s Month was celebrated in a big way at SM; and when it rains, it pours in a good way.