by Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star), 1 Apr 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines slipped a notch in the global ranking on gender equality, highlighting the pandemic’s consequence on more Filipino women leaving the labor force.
Based on the Global Gender Gap Report 2021 of Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), the Philippines ranked 17th out of 156 countries. It scored 0.784 out of a parity score of one.
This means that it closed 78.4 percent of its overall gender gap to date.
While it slid one notch in the global ranking, its performance was second-best in the East Asia and Pacific region, after New Zealand.
However, the country’s ranking continued to deteriorate as it ranked sixth in the world when the WEF started its gender equality report in 2006.
For the 12th time, Iceland ranked as the world’s most gender-equal country, followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.
The report benchmarks the evolution of gender bias in terms of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.
Based on the report, the Philippines closed both its educational attainment at 99.9 percent and health and survival gaps at 97.9 percent.
It is also among the 18 countries in the world that have closed at least 79.5 percent of their economic participation and opportunity gaps.
“This result is due in part to the fact that the Philippines is one of the few countries that has closed at the same time its gender gap in senior roles and in professional and technical roles,” the report said.
However, the WEF said women should be incentivized to participate more in the broader labor force.
It said only 49.1 percent of women are in the job market, corresponding to a gap closure of just 65.3 percent.
Similarly, income and wage gaps persist. On average, 22 percent of the wage gap and 31 percent of the income gap have yet to close.
When it comes to politics, the WEF noted that only 36.2 percent of the gap has been closed so far.
“Despite having a woman as head of state for over 15 of the past 50 years, there are still too few seats in the parliament held by women at 28 percent and even fewer women among ministers at 13 percent,” it said.
The report said progress towards gender parity is stalling many economies, partly due to women being more frequently employed in sectors hardest hit by lockdowns combined with the additional pressures of providing care at home.
“The pandemic has fundamentally impacted gender equality in both the work place and the home, rolling back years of progress. If we want a dynamic future economy, it is vital for women to be represented in the jobs of tomorrow,” it said.
Data showed that the pandemic had more negative impact on women than men, with women losing jobs at a higher rate of five percent than men at 3.9 percent.
And even as the labor market recovers, women are being hired at a slower rate in multiple industries. They are also less likely to be hired for leadership roles.