EDITORIAL - Widening gender gap

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Widening gender gap

When the World Economic Forum first published the Global Gender Gap Report in 2006, the Philippines ranked among the 10 best countries, placing an impressive sixth. The WEF’s Gender Gap Index is one global list where the Philippines has ranked high. The country’s ranking, however, has steadily deteriorated.

Nearly two decades since the launch of the Gender Gap Index, the Philippines has plummeted to 25th place out of 146 countries – down nine slots from its 16th rank in the 2023 GGI. The WEF noted that Filipino women still struggle particularly in terms of economic opportunities and political empowerment.

The country began slipping significantly in the ranking amid the national debate over the Reproductive Health Act, which was finally signed into law during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III. But other factors have since pulled down the country further in the index. After 2018, the country fell out of the top 10.

Gender Gap Index rankings are based on four subindices: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. Despite the heavy participation of Filipino women in politics and government, the country slipped from 30th to 34th place in political empowerment, also ranking 94th out of 146 in the percentage of women appointed to ministerial posts.

The Philippines’ ranking also fell in economic participation and opportunity, and in terms of women’s participation in the labor force. Women were also found to be paid less than male counterparts for performing comparable work.

Its lowest rank was in health and survival, maintaining its 86th place in 2023 out of 146 countries. One area where the Philippines did well was in educational attainment, surging to the top from 32nd place last year with a score indicating perfect gender equality for educational access.

The rankings reflect the work that still lies ahead in bridging the gender gap. The message of the WEF in the release of the latest report resonates: there remains an urgent need for a renewed global commitment to achieving gender parity.

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