Why it's good to be a Filipina

The gender gap between men and women in the Philippines, especially in educational attainment and health, is one of the least in the world, according to the World Economic Forum

Published 9:33 AM, October 24, 2012
Updated 1:56 PM, October 24, 2012

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is one of the best places to be a woman, based on the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) survey released on Wednesday, October 24.

In the 2012 Global Gender Gap Index (GGI), the Philippines maintained its ranking in the top 10 gender-friendly nations. The country ranked 8th out of 135 countries with a GGI score of 0.7757, its highest score in 6 years.

"The GGI examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment," the WEF explained.

"The Philippines is the only country from the region that has closed the educational attainment and health and survival gender gaps," WEF said.

"The Philippines also performs in the top 10 of the following indicators: legislators, senior officials and managers, literacy rate, enrolment in secondary education and years with female head of state," the report added.

The Philippines has had two female presidents--Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Philippines was the only Asian country to be included in this year's top 10 and the only Asian country to have done so consistently in the past 6 years.

The country has also outperformed its ASEAN neighbors none of whom were able to join the top 10 or even the top 50 countries in the GGI. The Philippines also bested all lower middle-income countries in the GGI.

The Philippines and New Zealand also topped the list among the Asia and the Pacific region. The two countries have placed in the top 10 multiple times since 2006.

Economic participation remains an issue

The index assessed 135 countries, representing more than 93% of the world’s population, on how well resources and opportunities are divided among male and female populations. The report measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four areas:

  • Economic participation and opportunity – salaries, participation and highly-skilled employment
  • Education – access to basic and higher levels of education
  • Political empowerment – representation in decision-making structures
  • Health and survival – life expectancy and sex ratio

While the Philippines, along with Nordic countries and the United States, have made investments in women's health and education, gender gaps still exists in economic and labor participation.

In particular, the WEF said, gaps persist in senior positions, wages and leadership levels. It can be noted that the Philippines ranked 17th overall in terms of the economic participation and opportunity subindex, the country's lowest ranking.

The country's ranking in the three other subindeces were as follows:

  • Educational attainment, 1st along with 19 other countries;
  • Health and survival, 1st along with 31 other countries; and
  • Political empowerment, 14th overall.

Gender gap worldwide

The WEF said the Global Gender Gap Report 2012 ranks Nordic countries in top spots, with Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden having closed over 80% of their gender gaps.

At the bottom of the ranking, some countries still need to close gender gaps of almost 50%, while more than half of those countries surveyed have failed to close their economic gender gap by more than 5% in the past six years.

Index scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap that has been closed between women and men.

Thirteen out of the 14 variables used to create the index are from publicly available hard data indicators from international organizations such as the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Health Organization.

In 2012, WEF said they included 132 of the 135 countries covered in the 2011 edition of the Report. Due to the lack of updated data, the WEF removed Angola, Tunisia and Zimbabwe from the Report in 2012.

However, the WEF added three new countries—Cape Verde, Serbia and Timor-Leste, maintaining a total of 135 countries. Of these, 111 have been included in the Report since the first edition in 2006. - Rappler.com