Women at work
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
A study commissioned by the National Economic Development Authority showed that women in jobs or seeking work in the Philippines made up just under half the working age population over the last two decades.
The Philippine rate of 46 percent in 2018 pushed its female labor participation below regional peers, such as Indonesia at 52 percent, Malaysia at 51 percent and Myanmar’s 48 percent, highlighting the need to fight workplace stereotyping and discrimination.
“Stereotyped gender roles of ascribing women the primary responsibility of taking care of homes and to men, as the provider of the family, undermine the labor force participation of women,” said the study.
Such a low rate could eventually hurt economic development and hold back the progress of women’s rights in the Philippines.
Remedial measures could range from laws for employers to offer daycare, boost paternity leave beyond seven days now, or bring religious beliefs, civil status and pregnancy status within the scope of the anti-discrimination law, the study said.
Filipino women often quit work after getting married or having children, particularly during the peak childbearing ages of 25 to 29. “The disruption in active economic participation during this phase of the life cycle is observed only for women and not for men,” the study said, adding that a lack of affordable, trustworthy childcare services also held back women.
Despite being among the top countries in the world when it comes to gender equality, the low economic and labor force participation of women reveals a disconnect as far as gender role stereotypes are concerned. Correcting that backward stereotype will need the involvement of influential women and champions of women’s rights who will have to work harder to provide the support services and remedial measures that can allow Filipino women to contribute to the economy or the workforce if they choose to do so.*