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Gender equality in work has been a very disputatious topic throughout history. Ever since the issue was first brought up in 1942, the gender pay gap has narrowed but remained relatively stable over the past decade. As to why this is happening, economists state that it is due to a number of reasons namely: differences in occupation between men and women, motherhood and sadly even discrimination. Although experts are unable to pinpoint the main reason, what’s certain is that leveling the gender pay gap will have multiple economic benefits. Reducing the pay gap is an opportunity to greatly improve the financial state of any country and the Philippines is no different. According to MGI (2018), with the best-in-region scenario, achieving gender parity in the Philippines could translate into a 7% or $40 billion increase in annual GDP by 2025.
Gender Equality in the Philippines
Unlike in other South-East Asian countries wherein women were relegated to household chores and child rearing, the equal status of women in the Philippine archipelago was very evident. Before Spanish colonization, women were already held in very high regard by the people indigenous to the region. Women were able to own or inherit family property, engage in trade, fight as warriors and even hold positions as religious leaders. This perspective however, was challenged due to the Spanish colonization that brought largely patriarchal ideals and institutions. However, after centuries under colonial rule, the country’s matriarchal roots remained largely intact.
The Filipino society’s ideology on the specific roles each family member plays also contributes to the gender equality of the country. In the family, the mother is often seen as the one who plays the dominant role in running the household. Also it is evident that parents have higher expectations for their daughters in terms of becoming successful in the future. The constant presence of family members and domestic helpers is also considered another factor as to why women are able to balance both their career and family life.
According to MGI (2018) “Asia Pacific is today arguably the most dynamic region in the world, a global engine of growth driven by productivity, investment, technology, and innovation.” However many countries within the region still have large gaps on gender equality within work and society. This having been said, the region and its countries within have untapped opportunities in the workplace and this could open new possibilities of more efficiency in the workplace with the skills that both genders have to offer. The Philippines is the most gender equal country in Asia in regards to work. Scoring a 0.73 on the gender equality in work scale, the South-East Asian country has equalled the Global best rating and is very far in comparison to the Asia Pacific average rating of only 0.44.
Effect of Gender Parity on the Economy
Decreased Voluntary Unemployment
Increasing wages of women will motivate more people to go out and look for jobs. Increasing wages of women will motivate more women to apply for jobs and this will utilise the maximum amount of talent among the people of a society. Having a gender gap in the workplace could prove to lower efficiency because the maximum skill potential of people are not utilised.
This will also promote a higher level of competition within the workplace. Not only will this force competitiveness among the employees of a workplace but if managed well, it will promote a healthy competition among the employees in the workplace thus reflecting more efficiency and effectiveness.
Voluntary unemployment is very common within the society, especially among women. The issue of gender inequality is present in the workplace. According to a report released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (“IWPR”), it will take until around the year 2058 for that gap to be rectified.
Reliance on OFW’s for income
Increased cash inflow will increase GDP. Women are vital contributors to the sustenance and enhancement of Asia’s growth as well as lowering the poverty line in a country.
Ways to Achieve Gender Parity
Achieving gender parity will prove very significant as women are vital contributors to the economy. However before achieving gender parity and equality, we must tackle the core problems that cause such effects on society and upon women. Focusing on Social gender inequality and its causes as well as finding solutions to them would be the first step to achieving gender parity. We must first learn to accept in society that both men and women must be equal partners in society for then to be equal partners in the workplace.
Women who have parity in education are more likely to share unpaid work with men more equitably, to work in professional and technical occupations, and to assume leadership roles.
Legal provisions guaranteeing the safety and rights of women as being considered fully part of society have benefits on their overall performance and efficiency in certain tasks. Also discrimination against women must be tackled, being inferior to the natural physical strength of men, they are victims of abuse more frequently compared to men.
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