Philippines is Asia’s best performer in closing gender gap, ranks 5th in the world

The Philippines is Asia’s best performing country in closing gender disparity this year, according to the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report.

Previously in eighth position, the Philippines has climbed to fifth spot besting other Asian and non-Asian countries.

Iceland remains at the top while Finland placed at the second spot. The remaining top countries are as follows: Norway (3rd), Sweden (4th), Philippines (5th), Ireland (6th), New Zealand (7th), Denmark (8th), Switzerland (9th) and Nicaragua (10th).

According to World Economic Forum (WEF), this is the first time the Philippines entered the top five list of countries “due to small improvements in the Economic Participation and Opportunity subindexes.”

The report furthers that the Philippines ranked 10th on the Political Empowerment subindex and “remains the highest-ranking country from Asia in the Index. Philippines is the only country in Asia and the Pacific that has fully closed the gender gap in both education and health.”

The country garnered 0.783 points, higher than 2012’s 0.776 and 2011’s 0.7685.

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the lead policy-making and coordinating body on women and gender equality concerns, is elated that our efforts are now paying off.

The collective hard work of government agencies, non-government and civil society organizations, academe and various stakeholders proves that the country indeed is recognizing and valuing women as active drivers of development.

Though this improvement in rank reflects that gender disparities are narrowing, we cannot be overconfident because the index does not show overall development levels which are still wanting.

Efforts to keep children in school especially boys, to expand economic opportunities for women and increase women’s participation in decision-making positions need to be accelerated and sustained in all spheres of society as stated in the Magna Carta of Women (MCW)

Recent trend showed an increased number of women winning in the last elections. There are six women senators out of 24 and 79 women legislators in the House of Representatives, while 647 women occupy third level positions as opposed to 749 men based on the March 2013 report of Career Executive Service Board (CESB).

PCW will not stop from performing its mandate until we enforce the necessary mechanisms to foster and promote equal opportunities for women and men.

Together, let us pave the way for more gender-responsive governance and for more equal gender opportunities.