Philippines rating unchanged in women, business and law index

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has made no progress in providing equal economic opportunities for women as it kept its previous year’s rating in the latest Women, Business and Law report of the World Bank.

The report, which measures laws affecting women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies, showed the Philippines scored 78.8 out of 100, unchanged from its score last year.

This score is based on the Women, Business and the Law 1.0 data, which takes into account eight indicators structured around women’s interactions with the law as they move through their lives and careers such as mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets and pension.

The Philippines’ score is slightly higher than the global average score of 77.9 and the regional average score of East Asia and the Pacific of 73.

In addition to the Women, Business and the Law 1.0 data, this year’s edition presents a new approach to measure the implementation gap between the law and how they function in practice through the Women, Business and the Law 2.0 data.

The new approach analyzes legal frameworks, supportive frameworks and expert opinions on the status of women’s rights and adds two new indicators: safety and childcare.

Based on the new approach, the Philippines got a legal frameworks index score of 70 out of 100, higher than the legal index global average of 64.2 and the average regional score of 57.8.

The World Bank said none of the 25 economies in the East Asia and Pacific region received a score of 100 in the legal frameworks index.

It said this “means that no economy in the region has achieved legal gender parity in the areas measured.”

The World Bank also said no economy in the region got a score above 90 and only four economies received a score of 75 or above, such as Vietnam, Mongolia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In terms of supportive frameworks, the Philippines got a rating of 54.2, also higher than the global average score of 39.5 and average regional score of 33.9.

“Women have the power to turbocharge the sputtering global economy,” said Indermit Gill, chief economist of the World Bank Group and senior vice president for development economics.

Discriminatory laws and practices prevent women from working or starting businesses on an equal footing with men, he said.

“Closing this gap could raise global gross domestic product by more than 20 percent – essentially doubling the global growth rate over the next decade – but reforms have slowed to a crawl,” he added.

The report provides recommendations on what governments can do to accelerate progress toward gender equality in business and the law, he noted.

These recommendations are to improve laws related to women’s safety, access to childcare and business opportunities, as well as establish frameworks that support the effective implementation of laws promoting gender equality.

The World Bank recommended enacting reforms that mandate equal pay for work of equal value and lift restrictions on a woman’s ability to work in industrial jobs.

Other recommendations include expanding maternity and paternity leave provisions and prohibiting the firing of pregnant women; prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, in public spaces, at universities and online; providing financial support for parents with young children and establishing quality standards for childcare services and implementing legally binding quotas for women on corporate boards of publicly listed companies. — Cecille Suerte Felipe, Rainier Allan Ronda, Pia Lee-Brago

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