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Income inequality between Filipino women and men remains—WB study

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Income inequality between Filipino women and men remains—WB study

Photo shows a group of women executives belonging to Women in Construction Foundation Inc. According to a World Bank study, working women in Philippines earn just 76 percent of what Filipino men do. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Working women in the Philippines earn just 76 percent of what Filipino men do, indicating the still significant room for improvement as far as gender equality in the country is concerned.

This is according to one of the latest reports of the World Bank, which urged developing countries to actively pursue programs that would promote gender equality. The developmental institution believes that promoting equal opportunities for women is a prudent economy policy.

“Gender equality is not only a fundamental right but is also good economics,” Motoo Konishi, country director of the World Bank for the Philippines, said on Thursday, during the launch of the World Bank report titled “Toward Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific.”

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Konishi said the Philippines has actually been ahead of many developing countries in the area of gender equality, but he pointed to problems that had yet to be addressed. “In many ways, the Philippines is advanced in gender and development, but there are still challenges,” Konishi said.

The report also showed disparity in terms of opportunity to manage enterprises in the country. Only about 30 percent of medium-sized enterprises and 20 percent of large enterprises have female managers. Moreover, nearly 20 percent of Filipino women experience sexual or physical forms of domestic violence.

The World Bank, nonetheless, recognized indicators favorable for women in the Philippines. One is the accessibility of education, with school participation having a little over 50 percent accounted for by women.

The World Bank said pursuing gender equality would help develop economies further boost productivity.

“If societies in East Asia and Pacific were to allocate resources on the basis of people’s skills and abilities, rather than by their gender, per worker productivity could increase by as much as 7 to 18 percent, with important implication for growth and poverty reduction,” the World Bank’s report said.

“Promoting gender equality in access to resources, economic opportunity and voice would also be an investment in the next generation,” the World Bank added.

World Bank said that many developing countries in East Asia and the Pacific have continued to experience significant problems on gender. Some of these include unequal access to work opportunities, maternal deaths and domestic violence.

Konishi said governments should reform existing policies to make them gender-neutral. He said economic development of countries alone would not automatically address gender inequality.

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“Unless you change policies, gender imbalance cannot change. Growth path will not change the gender gap,” Konishi said.

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TAGS: Business, Employment, gender equality, Gender issues, income, Jobs, Labor, work, World Bank
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