EDITORIAL- Slipping in gender equality

EDITORIAL- Slipping in gender equality

It’s the global survey where the Philippines has consistently ranked among the 10 best economies. But in the 2020 Gender Gap Report, the Philippines dropped eight notches, from eighth spot to 16th out of 153 economies in terms of gender equality.

This marks the first time since the report was launched in 2006 that the Philippines has fallen out of the 10 most gender-equal economies. The report, prepared by the World Economic Forum, assesses gender gaps based on economic, political, education and health criteria. The Philippines achieved its best ranking, at fifth spot, in 2013, and the lowest at 10th place in 2017. Last year, the country placed eighth out of 149 economies.

For the latest report, the country saw its steepest fall in the political criteria, from 13th to 29th place. This was attributed to a widening gap in political empowerment, with fewer women in the Cabinet. There was also a slight fall in female representation in Congress, the WEF report noted.

Iceland retained the top spot in the index. It was followed by Norway, Finland, Sweden, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda and Germany.

Despite the fall, the Philippines still ranked the highest in Asia, and second best after New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific region. The WEF report noted that the Philippines has closed 78 percent of its overall gender gap.

The report cited the Philippines’ strong performance in the three other criteria: educational attainment, economic participation and opportunity, and health and survival. Filipino women are seen to live in good health five years longer than men. The Philippines is also one of just four countries where women outnumber men in senior and leadership roles as well as in professional and technical careers. More women are also enrolled in secondary and tertiary education than men, according to the report.

The country has had two women presidents and a female chief justice. The current vice president is a woman. There are several laws promoting the welfare of women, allowing their employment and participation in practically all fields of endeavor. As the latest gender report shows, however, there is always room for improvement.