An award-winning public servant from Valenzuela City has lauded the Philippine economy for maintaining a spot in the Top 10 out of 142 countries in the Global Gender Gap 2014.
But Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian urged the government to implement more reforms that promote equal opportunities for women and men in the Philippine economy.
Gatchalian issued the statement after the country ranked as the ninth in the Top 10 performers that were included in the report by the World Economic Forum or WEF, falling four notches from last year.
“Indeed, the Philippines still belongs in the Top 10,” said Gatchalian, a member in the House Committee on Trade and Industry.
“However, the huge drop in ranking means the government has to invest more in closing the gender gap in the concerned categories if it wants the country to retain its performance in the index,” he added.
The gap between men and women was analyzed in the WEF report based on economic participation, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and survival. It seeks to show how resources and opportunities are distributed between the sexes.
The Philippines retained its first ranking in the educational attainment and health and survival categories.
However, it dropped seven and eight notches to 17th and 24th in terms of political empowerment and economic participation, respectively.
In the wage equality for similar work sub-index, the country fell considerably to ninth from second.
“The government and the private sectors have to realize that more and more women need quality jobs to financially help their families given the difficult economic conditions,” Gatchalian said.
“The state has to increase the availability of work opportunities for women, who also share in the burden of making a living for the entire household,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian further explained that both public and private employers should take a hint from the conditional cash transfer program or CCTP.
Through the program, the state subsidies are given to the mothers in covered households as they are better at managing family finances and making social investments in health and education compared with male household heads.
“If, therefore, we improve women’s labor conditions means we are also investing in their children.”
The WEF report also showed that Philippine economy only ranked 102nd in terms of labor force participation.
“It is not enough that more jobs are opened to the population aged 15 to 64; the government should ensure that the jobs have decent wages and good working conditions that allow both sexes to also perform their parental duties,” Gatchalian said.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority published last March showed that women’s labor force participation is primarily pegged at 49.8 percent compared to the 78.1 percent for men.
There are also more women who are unpaid as family workers at 15.9 percent than men at 6.8 percent.
Most female overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are laborers and unskilled workers, while most male OFWs are plant and machine operators and assemblers and trade and related workers. (Monica Cantilero)