MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines climbed two notches to 8th place in the latest Global Gender Gap report, maintaining its position as one of the most gender equal countries in Asia.
The report, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday, December 18, ranked 149 countries based on 4 categories: labor force participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
The Philippines – in 10th place in 2017 – has been among the top 10 most gender equal countries in the world since the report was launched in 2006. The WEF said the Philippines maintained its high ranking on the back of strong efforts to close the gender gap in political empowerment.
The WEF noted the country has managed to close about 80% of the total gender gap, which is the “highest value ever recorded” for the Philippines.
It said that the Philippines remained in the top 10 "on the back of strong scores on closing the Political Empowerment gender gap, in particular."
The Philippines, however, needs work in the health and survival category, where there remained a gap for the second consecutive year, said the report.
In measuring the health and survival indicator, the WEF looked into the differences between women’s and men’s health based on life expectancy. It also studied the phenomenon of "missing women" in countries where families prefer to have sons over daughters.
Twelve years ago, or in the first year of the report, the Philippines was ranked first among 115 countries in the health and survival gender gap category. Now, it is 42nd out of 149 countries.
Meanwhile, improvement in economic participation and opportunity in the Philippines was also recorded, as wages increased for women’s estimated income and equal pay for similar work. This year, the Philippines ranked 14 out of 149 countries, the WEF reported.
The report also said that the gender gap in equality in terms of educational attainment in the Philippines remained sealed. (READ: Do Southeast Asia, PH have gender equality in education?)
In the East Asia and Pacific region, New Zealand holds the top spot as the most gender equal country, placing 7th among the top 10 countries in the report.
Countries in Europe took half of the top 10 spots, with Iceland keeping top spot for the 10th consecutive year. Norway was second, Sweden third, and Finland fourth.
Nicaragua was ranked fifth, Rwanda sixth, and New Zealand seventh. respectively. Ireland was ranked ninth, after the Philippines, while Namibia completed the top 10.
Globally, however, the WEF said the gender gap reduced “only slightly” in 2018 after it widened for the first time last year. It said improvements were only marginal, and estimated that the world has only closed 68% of its gender gap – the same figure from 2017. (READ: 'Marginal improvement' in global fight for gender equality – report)
The WEF said the global decline women’s participation in politics and stagnation in the proportion of women in the workplace offset improvements seen in the number of women in professional positions and wage equality.