Manila, Philippines –

Every year, those of us in the Gender Equality advocacy await in anticipation on how well our respective countries fair in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report. The report analyzed 153 countries in their progress towards gender parity, focusing on four main themes: economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. Since 2016, the Philippines ranked among the best in the world, making us the only Southeast Asian country as part of the Top 10, year after year.

Although we had made great strides in our work by creating more awareness and inviting active participation from the business sector and even male counterparts, the Philippines slipped from 8th place to 16th place this year. The ranking drop was attributed to the wider gap in the political empowerment index, citing specifics such as the lack of female representation in the administration’s cabinet and in the legislative branch of government.

While we at the Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN) and the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE) see this as a “wake up call” and a temporary setback, we also see this as a motivation to do better and work harder— with more urgency to achieve genuine equality by working closely with the different sectors of the country.

The WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2020 tells us that it will now take 99.5 years before the world achieves gender equality, something that none of us will see in our lifetimes. Which is why, now more than ever, we must take the fight against inequality more seriously and work together towards a gender- equal society that works for all.

One of the most important things that global women empowerment movements have taught us is this: Collective work against a culture of misogyny, disrespect, and outdated social norms can inspire broad, positive changes across borders and in all corners of society.

It is time to work together.

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