The Philippines ranks 1st in Asia and 8th in the world in terms of gender equal opportunities according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF Global Gender Gap Index examines the difference between men and women across four categories.

The Philippines placed 14th in economic opportunities, 1st in educational attainment, 42nd in health and survival and 13th in political empowerment making its global rank higher by two notches from its spot in 2017 and the only Asian country in the Top 10.

According to the report, gender parity is essential in determining how societies and economies survive. It benchmarks 149 countries in the world.

The Total Gender Gap score is at 68%, underscoring a 32% gap between equality across all genders. The findings revealed that no country has yet achieved parity and only the top seven nations have closed the gap to 80% which includes Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Nicaragua, Rwanda, and New Zealand.

Asian ranking

The ten most gender equal countries in Asia are the Philippines, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Lao PDR, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

Bangladesh as closed 72% of its overall gap with improvements in its economic opportunity and participation rating. Mongolia ranks third and is nearly closing the gap in Health and Survival Index along with Japan and Cambodia. Lao PDR has closed the gender gap in labor-force participation but has made a slip in the rankings due to inequality in wage and literacy rate.

Singapore indicated more female participation in the economy and had increased parity in Health and Survival category. The country’s significant gap is in estimated earned income.

Performance per category

Political empowerment

Gender gap remains largest in political empowerment since only 23% of the disparity has been closed reflecting no improvement since last year. Iceland has closed only 33% while six others have narrowed it to 50% like Nicaragua, Norway, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Finland, and Sweden. Worst-performing countries regarding political empowerment are Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, and Yemen with 97% gender equality gap.

WEF stated that in 50 years, the average tenure of a woman in 149 countries as head of state is 2.2 years. In the Philippines, the senators of the 17th congress are composed of 6 women and 18 men. In the House of Representatives, there are around 87 female lawmakers out of 297 seats. In 2016, Geraldine Roman made history by becoming the first transgender to be elected in the House.

Economic Participation and Opportunity

The world gap between men and women in economic participation is at 58% - with around nineteen countries in North Africa and the Middle East region are yet to close over 50% of their disparity. Only 14 countries have closed 80% and among these are Lao PDR, Philippines, Belarus, Latvia, Barbados, Norway, and Sweden.

Furthermore, the research disclosed that the Philippines, along with Colombia, Bahamas, Jamaica and Lao PDR, is likely to attain gender equality in managerial positions.

Educational attainment

Educational attainment showed a significantly smaller gap compared to economic and political categories. Among 149 countries, 36 have attained parity, and 49 are nearly closing 90% of the difference. At least 20% of women in 44 states are still illiterate.

The Philippines’ literacy rates us at 97.95% according to the 2016 report by the United Nations Human Development. The same report showed that the literacy rate among women is at 98.9% and men at 97%.

Health and survival

The world gender gap is smallest in the health and survival category with an average of 4%. No country has yet achieved parity in this aspect, but 74 nations have closed the gap at 98%. Equality in this aspect was measured in terms of life expectancy. Women tend to live longer in Bhutan, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

In the Philippines, the life expectancy is 69.3 with females at 72.6 and males at 66.2. Filipinos rank 123 in the World Life Expectancy list.

Diana Fernandez

Diana Fernandez

A journalist by trade, previously a writing coach to budding journalists in the Philippines and a business writer in the Middle East, Diana is passionate about providing relevant, engaging, and informative content to help Filipinos choose the right financial product.