Among 156 countries, the Philippines ranks 17th in Global Gender Gap Report, 2nd overall in Asia Pacific

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The Philippines ranks 17th among 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2021 of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The report released last Wednesday, March 31 indicates that the Philippines’ ranking slipped down one place from its previous ranking.

However, for the Asia Pacific region, the Philippines placed second next to New Zealand, which ranks fourth globally respectively.

Of the four indices, the Philippines ranked 18th in economic participation, 33rd in political empowerment, 34th in health and survival, and 39th in educational attainment overall.

The World Economic Forum report cited the Philippines’ capability of closing gender gaps in educational attainment and health and survival.

Furthermore, the Philippines is 1 of 18 countries in the world that have closed at least 79.5% of economic participation and opportunity gaps.

“This result is due in part to the fact that the Philippines is one of the few countries that has closed at the same time its gender gap in senior roles, and in professional and technical roles,” the report explained.

However, the WEF report said the Philippines should improve women’s participation in the labor market, as well as close the income and wage gaps.

“Only 49.1 percent of women are in the job market, corresponding to a gap closure of just 65.3 percent on this indicator. Similarly, income and wage gaps persist. On average, 22 percent of the wage gap and 31 percent of the income gap have yet to close,” it said.

In terms of political empowerment however, the report noted that only 36.2% of this gap has been closed as women only maintain 28% of the seats in the Congress and about 13% are holding minister positions.

The WEF said the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has pushed back gender parity, adding 36 years to close the gender gap globally.

It means it will now take 135.6 years to close the global gender gap, WEF said.

“Progress towards gender parity is stalling in several large economies and industries. This is partly due to women being more frequently employed in sectors hardest hit by lockdowns combined with the additional pressures of providing care at home,” the report said.

WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi said despite the rollback in overall progress due to the pandemic, there are still movements forward that should continue gaining momentum.

“What has worked in creating gender equality in the past is also going to work in the future,” Zahidi said in a virtual media briefing.

She cited efforts in Nordic economies and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that should be replicated in other parts of the world to improve gender parity.

“In Nordic economies, care infrastructure has held up and provided support for the working parents. The support for reskilling and upskilling and being redeployed to a new role in jobs is more equally available to women and men than in other parts of the world,” she added.

On the other hand, Zahidi said UAE’s progress in the Global Gender Gap Report hinges on its steady progress in putting in massive investments in education, particularly for the development of higher skills and university education for women.

UAE ranked towards the bottom of the ranking 15 years ago. It made it to the top half of the rankings this year.

Meanwhile, the 10 best performing countries in closing gender gaps in the 2021 report are:

1. Iceland
2. Finland
3. Norway
4. New Zealand
5. Sweden
6. Namibia
7. Rwanda
8. Lithuania
9. Ireland
10. Switzerland

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