women's rights

At Home sa Abroad: The plight of overseas Filipino women

At Home sa Abroad: The plight of overseas Filipino women
Rappler speaks to a Bahrain-based NGO officer and a Japan-based sociology professor on the challenges women OFWs face and how to empower them

MANILA, Philippines – On March 8, the Philippines took part in the worldwide celebration of International Women’s Day. Advocates celebrated women’s rights advancement in the country, and called for better empowerment and protection of women.

Women represent roughly half the Philippine population, with men slightly outnumbering women. However, among overseas Filipino workers, there are more women OFWs than men. According to 2021 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 60.2% or 1.1 million of the 1.83 million OFWs worldwide were women.

The PSA said most OFW women are in “elementary” occupations, including domestic work. This puts them in vulnerable positions – a reason behind the never-ending stories of abuse, exploitation, and social costs.

Still, overseas Filipino women continue to fight for their right to work abroad with dignity – whether they are in care work or in managerial positions.

In Rappler’s Women’s Month episode for At Home sa Abroad: Stories of Overseas Filipinos, Rappler multimedia reporter Michelle Abad speaks to Ivy Ancheta, marketing and communications head of nongovernmental organization Sandigan Bahrain, and Johanna Zulueta, a sociology professor at Toyo University in Japan who has written about gender and migration.

Bahrain law is a combination of royal decrees, civil and criminal measures, and Sharia law. According to nonprofit organization Borgen Project, the secular part of Bahraini law advances women’s rights, but the religious part holds them back. Ancheta speaks about how their NGO steps in to help and empower the mostly women migrant workers who approach them.

Zulueta gives a background on women’s labor migration in East Asia, and how women are disproportionately affected by labor migration issues compared to men.

Watch the video on Rappler at 7 pm, on Monday, March 13.

At Home sa Abroad: Stories of Overseas Filipinos is Rappler’s one-stop video podcast for all things Filipino diaspora. – Rappler.com

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