Philippines dislodged from top 10 nations for women in workplace
This July 28, 2020 photo shows people wearing face masks and health workers clad in personal protective equipment.
The STAR/Edd Gumban

Philippines dislodged from top 10 nations for women in workplace

Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( - December 2, 2020 - 5:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines dropped out of top 10 in this year’s global ranking that examined women representation in work places, a direct result of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women seen across the globe.

Among 58 economies tracked by this year’s Index of Women Entrepreneurs, Manila ranked 16th, down from last year’s 9th spot. While the number of economies surveyed varied across the years, this also marked the Philippines lowest ranking since the first report in 2017.

In previous years, Manila consistently figured in the top 10 placing ninth in 2018 and eighth in 2017. A precedent Asia Pacific ranking of Mastercard for women in the workplace in 2016 likewise placed the Philippines fourth in the region.  

The survey is conducted annually by Mastercard, a global payments provider, which tracked 12 indicators that measure, among others, women’s financial inclusion, education level and training, among others. These indicators were grouped on three components that each corresponded to a score.

In terms of score, the Philippines likewise suffered a decline of 1.4 points to 66.5 this year. Israel dominated this year’s index for “focused institutional support” to women small business owners while the pandemic hit businesses. Bangladesh was last. 

“Those in developed economies have been shielded in part from the more drastic impacts due to higher knowledge assets... while women in developing economies have been harder hit due to on-average lesser knowledge assets and an overrepresentation in the informal and harder-hit business sectors,” Mastercard explained.

In Asia Pacific, Singapore led the pack of losers after failing 12 notches year-on-year. Hong Kong, whose image as central business district has been tarnished by recent national security law that curtails freedoms, fell eight places. Vietnam dropped seven notches.

Across three components used in the index, the Philippines’ score was unchanged at 65.7 under the first that gauges “women’s advancement outcomes.” This was highly result of Filipinas dominating board rooms accounting for 51.4% of business leaders. A higher 57.6% of professionals such as doctors and lawyers were also women, the survey found.

On top of these, Filipinas were considered at par with men in terms of entrepreneurial activity rate, the report said.

But under second component, which looked into women’s access to credit for their business, the Philippines’ score dropped 6.1 points to 75, the second deepest decline in the index. In contrast with leading Israel, the report found that support to local SMEs had been “significantly scaled back” when they are needed the most during the health crisis.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has so far not responded to request for comment. 

In the third and last component, the country fared better in terms of business conditions that could affect women’s ability to thrive as entrepreneurs. Under this indicator, the Philippines scored 57, up 1.5 points, but was still outperformed by other economies that likewise improved their marks.

Overall, Mastercard noted that the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately posed setbacks for women regardless of geographical location, education level and the wealth of the economy where they live in. 

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