The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released the 2021 Global Gender Gap Report. Expectedly, our progress towards gender equality in the past decade is stalling.
This year, the Philippines ranked 17th place out of 156 countries – slipping one notch from the previous ranking. To date, the country has closed 78.4% of its overall gender gap. In East Asia and the Pacific region, the Philippines ranked second-best.
Let us start with a positive note. Women appear to be progressively closing the gender gap in three key dimensions: Health and Survival, Educational Attainment, and Economic Participation and Opportunity. The Philippines is one of the few countries that has closed its gender gap in senior roles and in professional and technical roles.
However, in terms of Political Empowerment, there are still a few seats in government held by women, and even fewer in cabinet positions. In addition, the report highlighted that women should be incentivized to participate more in the broader labor force. While the workforce remained productive through widespread telework, inequality in the workplace is still not expected to be erased for another 267.6 years – and that is largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gendered impacts of the pandemic cannot be denied, nor forgotten. Across every sphere, women bear the heaviest impact, and the effects will be felt long-term and far-reaching. Women still predominantly carry the greatest share of increased unpaid care work and family responsibilities and job loss – all resulting to the negative consequences on overall well-being and productivity.
We, in PhilWEN and PBCWE, always emphasize that businesses have a huge role to play. Unbending, uncompromised, and immediate actions, such as creating flexible and viable working conditions for women and men, sufficiently examining employees’ unique needs, and making sure that equal representation is included in crucial decision-making spheres, are just some examples to cushion the blow of the ongoing pandemic.
We should move forward with grounded, practical, and sustainable solutions.
In the new normal, it is business beyond usual.