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PH is most gender-equal country in Asia-Pacific

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 12:30 AM November 10, 2016

The Philippines remained the most “gender-equal” country in the Asia-Pacific region as it was found to have effectively bridged the gap between men and women in the economy, politics and the society, according to the Global Gender Gap Index 2016.

Globally, the Philippines maintained its position this year, ranking 7th among 144 economies assessed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in terms of four main indicators, namely health and survival; educational attainment; economic participation, and political empowerment.

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Based on the country’s score card, the Philippines recovered under the educational attainment indicator where it rose significantly to the 1st place from ranking only 34th in last year’s index.

Under the economic participation and opportunity indicator, however, the country fell five notches to place 21st from ranking 16th last year. This indicator measured labor force participation, where the country ranked 107th; wage equality for similar work (7th); estimated earned income (31st); legislators, senior officials and managers (5th), and professional and technical workers (1st).

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The Philippines maintained its position under the health and survival (1st) and political empowerment (17th) indicators.

“(The) Philippines is the most gender-equal country in Asia-Pacific. It has maintained its position as the world’s 7th most gender-equal country, having closed nearly 79 percent of its entire gender gap. Impressively, this year, it has re-closed its educational gender gap, which opened up again for the first time in 2015. It also ranked first worldwide for having fully closed its health and survival gap, and for the number of professional and technical workers in our economic pillar,” the report stated.

“However it has slipped back over the past twelve months in our measurement of legislators, senior officials and managers: this was closed entirely in 2015 but re-opened this year. Also, progress since 2006 when we first started measuring the gender gap has been slow,” it added.

According to the report, the East Asian and Pacific region, as a whole, had some “stark contrasts, with a large distance between the most gender-equal societies such as the Philippines and New Zealand and economic heavyweights China (88th), Japan (111th) and Korea (116th).”

The 11th edition of the Global Gender Gap Index ranked 144 countries by measuring the parity between men and women in terms of salaries, participation and leadership (economic participation); access to basic and higher levels of education (education); representation in decision-making structures (political empowerment); and life expectancy and sex ratio (health and survival).

Data from this index was aimed at understanding whether countries are distributing their resources and opportunities equitably between women and men, irrespective of their overall income levels.

Iceland topped this annual benchmarking exercise anew, followed by Iceland, Finland, Norway Sweden and Rwanda. Rounding up the top 10 most gender equal countries were Ireland, the Philippines, Slovenia, New Zealand, and Nicaragua.

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According to WEF, the report found that progress toward parity in the key economic pillar has slowed dramatically with the gap—which stands at 59 percent—now bigger than at any point since 2008. Behind this decline were a number of factors, including salary, with women around the world on average earning just over half of what men earn despite, on average, working longer hours (taking paid and unpaid work into account).

WEF noted that the “slow rate of progress towards gender parity, especially in the economic realm, poses a particular risk given the fact that many jobs that employ a majority of women are likely to be hit proportionately hardest by the coming age of technological disruption known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” This “hollowing out” of female livelihoods could deprive economies further of women’s talents and increases the urgency for more women to enter high-growth fields, it said.

“Women and men must be equal partners in managing the challenges our world faces—and in reaping the opportunities. Both voices are critical in ensuring the Fourth Industrial Revolution delivers its promise for society,” WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said in a statement.

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TAGS: Asia, Business, gender, gender-equal, Global Gender Gap Index, world economic forum
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