Philippines slides down in annual gender gap index

Ramon Royandoyan - Philstar.com
Philippines slides down in annual gender gap index
Students in face masks are seen being taken their temperature in this undated file photo before the COVID-19 outbreak in the country
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines slid down two notches in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index this year amid shrinking enrollment of girls in primary school education.

In a report released this month, the WEF's annual ranking placed the country on the 19th spot out of 148 economies tracked in the gender parity index. The Philippines, home to an estimated 54 million women, landed in 17th place in last year’s report.

"In 2022 the Philippines records a gender gap of 21.7%, similar to last year. As a result, Philippines dropped two spots in the general ranking, from 17th to 19th, with minor variations across subindexes," the report said.

The Philippines ranked second, only behind New Zealand, in East Asia and the Pacific region in this year's index.

WEF noted that since 2013, progress in the country has flitted between 78.3% and 79.9% range. The latest ranking placed the Philippines above developed countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.

According to WEF, the country has shown improvements since its first gender parity score climbed up 4.2 percentage points. The index looked into four categories, namely economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment, to measure gender parity in a country.

The Philippines ranked high at 16th in the economic participation subindex, an improvement from its 2021 rank of 18th. It landed between 30th to 46th place in the other indicators, worse as it slid down seven notches in the education subindex this year.

One of the main problems pinpointed by the WEF was the impact of schooling disruptions within the country's education system amid the pandemic. The former Duterte administration placed the country in one of the longest lockdowns in the world and instituted online learning systems to cope and lessen the spread of virus contagion.

The WEF said that gender parity slid down as enrolment of primary school-aged girls decreased while boys garnered a larger share in this category. The Marcos Jr. administration is looking to send schoolchildren back to face-to-face classes but reneged on previous statements that it would keep blended learning setups in several areas.

On the flipside, latest data provided revealed that Filipinas dominate several professional fields in the country. In terms of the share of graduates between men and women, there were more women who hail from the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary, arts and humanities, education, health and welfare, natural sciences, mathematics and statistics, and the social sciences (including journalism).

Likewise, the WEF stressed that the share of women in the workforce proved markedly lower by 24.5 percentage points compared to the share of men within the economic participation and opportunity subindex. However, they noted that "gender parity for legislative, senior officers and managers, as well as for professional and technical workers, remains constant."





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