The Philippines remains the Asian country with the narrowest gender wage gap, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for 2018. It ranked the Philippines eighth among 149 countries assessed in achieving gender equality, closing almost 80 per cent of its overall gender gap.
The Philippines was ranked 10th last year.
The archipelago was listed among Laos, Bahamas, Colombia and Jamaica as countries that have achieved full parity in political and economic leadership, with many prominent positions held by women.
Iceland remains the most gender neutral country, followed by Norway, Sweden, Finland, Nicaragua, Rwanda and New Zealand.
The Philippines’ gender gap in the educational attainment pillar remains closed, like last year, meaning the literacy rate and school enrolment are almost the same for the genders.
The report did not mention the large numbers of Filipino women who are driven by a stagnant economy to leave their children and work as maids overseas.
In the Pacific region, New Zealand and the Philippines were followed by Laos (26th), Singapore (67th), Thailand (73rd), Vietnam (77th), Indonesia (85th) and Myanmar (88th).
“Political empowerment is where the [global] gender gap remains the widest: only 23 per cent of the political gap – unchanged since last year – has been closed, and no country has yet fully closed political empowerment gaps,” the report said.
“At the current rate of change, the data suggest that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to bring about parity in the workplace,” the report added.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte publicly said he preferred to appoint men to government roles, saying they could better complete his many orders.
In the G20, France came the highest, ranking 12th worldwide with other members performing poorly, including China (103rd), India (108th), Japan (110th) and South Korea (115th).
Despite having the highest GDP, the US scores poorly in the rankings, moving down two places to 51st place, below Mexico and Mozambique.
The US performed better than average for the economic participation ranking but it did particularly badly on the political empowerment index, coming 98, below Pakistan.
But the world’s largest economy did have the highest share of women with artificial intelligence skills compared to men.
World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab said the gender equality was crucial when preparing for the future. Technological changes meant “societies cannot afford to lose out on the skills, ideas and perspectives of half of humanity to realise the promise of a more prosperous and human-centric future that well-governed innovation and technology can bring”, he added.
Many Filipino women would be surprised to hear about their “privileged” global status. Picture credit: Wikimedia