Women in the workplace are now thankfully, nothing new. In The Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) of 2018, The Philippines was ranked 8th out of 149 countries included in terms of gender parity. Based on that, we can say that we live in a time and place where women are given a chance at success and a chance to showcase their gifts and talents to the world. People say that the opportunities now are endless, but are what we enjoy now enough?
Feminism has long struggled for women’s rights and equality not only at home or in the workplace, but in every place and at any given time. Although women’s rights in the Philippines are positively met nowadays, it is still only right to remember the long process Filipino women of the past had to endure for every Filipina to enjoy today.
Though women of the pre-colonial Philippine societies were highly regarded members of the community, it is still embedded in the minds of Filipinos that the epitome of Filipina womanhood is the image of meek, soft-spoken women in the Spanish era, the “Maria Clara.” It was only in 1910 when the law for the regulation of women employment was enacted. Many acts were passed after that, and have helped in overseeing the welfare of women workers. These can be seen in the 1935 and 1974 constitutions.
More than a century after the first law for women employment in the Philippines was passed, we see successful, thriving women who broke free of the Maria Clara mold. There is nothing wrong with being Maria Clara, mind you. Women can be soft-spoken and demure, but in this day and age, Filipinas should also have fire in their eyes, and drive in their hearts. Women can excel in any field, and there isn’t any field that women should leave untouched.
Even if the country has placed high in the GGGI in recent years, Philippines has yet to close at least 80% of the gender employment gap. On the 2018 Gender Statistics on Labor and Employment by the Philippine Statistics Authority, it was seen that of the 17,858 college undergraduates and degree holders of the country in 2017, 9,925 of them are women and 7,933 are men. However, the percentage of employed women during that year was only 37.85% with 15, 267, and the men taking 62.15% of the employment rate. The average number of employed persons in the Philippines is 40, 334 with 25, 067 employed men. This just shows that gender parity is still not achieved, women acceptance in the workforce has just been better than in recent history.
Discussing the past and now living to see the present, what does every Filipina have in the future? If equality is to be based merely on the statistics and comparisons of the quality of life women of this country have led, we can say that the women now are enjoying the best of history. However, Filipina women, and any woman for that matter, deserve more than the slightly improved chance at a job, at a business venture, or even education. Women need to be respected in whatever field she chooses, and they deserve the chance to be able to show the extent of their capabilities.
But given the never-ending efforts of those who wish for and desire equality, women truly have changed the game. The work force has long been a patriarchal playing field, and if we all stay on the course we are in, it will not be in that state for a long time. And that, is the future every woman deserves.
“2018 Gender Statistics on Labor and Employment.” Philippine Statistics Authority, Nov. 2018.”
“The Global Gender Gap Index 2018.” BusinessWorld, 19 Dec. 2018, 12:30 am, www.bworldonline.com/the-global-gender-gap-index-2018/.
“Results and Analysis.” Global Gender Gap Report 2018, World Economic Forum, 2018, reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2018/results-and-analysis/. Balagot, Maria Rosario N. “Women Empowerment in the Philippine Workplace.” BusinessWorld, 6 June 2018, 8:52 pm, www.bworldonline.com/women-empowerment-in-the-philippine-workplace/.