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Curb teenage pregnancy to build on PH gains in women empowerment

As the celebration of the National Women’s Month kicks off, Senator Win Gatchalian underscores the need to curb teenage pregnancy for the Philippines to sustain and accelerate gender equality on its milestones.


PASAY CITY, Philippines – A couple spends quiet time outside a shopping mall in a prime business district, 9 July 2019. As the Philippines continues to bridge milestones on gender equality, it needs however to address rising cases of teenage pregnancies, especially in the 10-14 age group. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Gatchalian zeroes in on teenage pregnancy as it is considered a leading factor on why girls drop out of school. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) Annual Poverty Indicators Survey 2017, “marriage or family matters” is the top reason why female out-of-school children and youth aged 6 to 24 are not attending school.

While teenage pregnancies among women aged 15 to 19 decreased from 182,906 in 2017 to 181,717 in 2018, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) sounded the alarm on the spike of pregnancies in the 10 to 14 age group. Between 2011 and 2018, live births delivered by girls in this age group increased from 1,381 to 2,250, a spike of 63 percent. In 2017 alone, the number of pregnancies in the 10 to 14 age group reached almost two thousand (1,985).

“Kung hindi titigil ang mga batang kababaihan sa pag-aaral sa kabila ng maagang pagbubuntis, matutupad nila ang kanilang potensyal na magkaroon ng mahalagang kontribusyon sa ating lipunan. Mahalaga ang papel dito ng comprehensive sexuality education upang mabigyan ng sapat na kaalaman at proteksyon ang ating mga kabataan mula sa maagang pagbubuntis na maaaring epekto rin ng pang-aabuso at karahasan,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Gatchalian cited different studies on gender equality in the Philippines, noting that a significant drop in the number of teenage pregnancies could close more gender gaps. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report reveals that the Philippines has closed 80 percent of its Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap, with women outnumbering men in senior and leadership roles, as well as in professional and technical professions.

The same study shows that In secondary education, 71 percent of women compared to 60 percent of men are enrolled. In tertiary education, 57 percent of women are enrolled compared to 43 percent of men who are enrolled.

Gatchalian also cited Thornton International’s recently released ‘Women in Business’ report which showed that among 32 countries, the Philippines has the most number of executives, with 43 percent of Filipino women executives holding senior management positions.