PH rises to 7th spot, still Asia’s top performer in closing gender gap

For nine straight years now, the Philippines once again bested other Asian countries in closing the global gender disparity, according to the 2015 Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) Report released annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

From 2014’s standing at 9th place, the Philippines climbs to 7th spot as it garnered 0.790 points. Previous points were 0.781(2014), 0.783 (2013), 0.776 (2012), and 0.768 (2011).

According to the report, the country’s improvement in rank was due to “an increase on its Economic Participation and Opportunity score, which is due to more female legislators, senior officials and managers as well as professional and technical workers.” In this sub-index, the country was ranked third-best in the region.

The report added that “improvements have also been made on the Political Empowerment sub-index, due to more women in ministerial positions.”

“The Health and Survival gender gap remains fully closed while the Educational Attainment gap, which had been fully closed since 2006, reopens slightly. Since 2006, the country has progressed across all categories except Educational Attainment, where it has slightly regressed, the report added.”

Iceland remains to be the most gender-equal country among 145 countries worldwide with 0.881 points, followed by Norway (0.850), Finland (0.850), Sweden (0.823), Ireland (0.807) and Rwanda (0.794). Following the Philippines on the list are Switzerland (0.785), Slovenia (0.784) and New Zealand (0.782).

Gains and Ways Forward

The result of the report is very fitting as 2015 is a milestone year for the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) which turned 40 this year, not to mention the concluding year of the international commitments such as the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Commission believes that the GGI Report validated the fruitful results of the concerted efforts of the government, civil society organizations, academe and private institutions, especially during this administration which paved the way for institutionalizing mechanisms in addressing discrimination against women, and building economic opportunities for women.

“We are happy to know that our efforts are paying off every year. It fuels our energy and desire to work for women. In terms of closing the gender gap, neighbouring countries are looking up to the Philippines. But we cannot stop here; there are more roads to traverse and build to reach more Filipino women. The GGI does not describe levels of development. Challenges such as poverty, violence, reproductive health and job-skills mismatch, among others, still need to be hurdled. We need to synergize efforts among government agencies and continue to strengthen our partnerships with civil society organizations, academe, and the private sector,” said PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa.

“Let us celebrate our gains and strive to maintain what we have so we can look forward and realize that a gender-equal society can be at hand,” she added.

The Global Gender Gap Report’s Index assesses countries on how well they divide resources and opportunities amongst male and female populations, regardless of the overall levels of these resources. The report measures the gender inequality gap in four areas, namely: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Political Empowerment, and Health and Survival.

The PCW is the lead government agency that makes government work for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of women’s human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment.