THE PHILIPPINES edged up in the world’s top 10 and took the helm in East Asia and the Pacific in an annual report that tracks how countries have been closing the gap between women and men in more than 70 indicators in the fields of health, education, economy and politics.
Spurred by a marked improvement in terms of “economic participation and opportunity,” where it moved to 14th place out of 149 countries with a score of 0.801 — on a 0-1 scale where 1 reflects gender parity — this year from 25th/140 with a 0.764 grade in 2017, the Philippines moved to eighth place overall globally from 10th last year as it score improved to 0.799 from 0.790, according to the The Global Gender Gap Report 2018 which the World Economic Forum released on Tuesday.
The Philippines’ overall position compared to its seventh place out of 144 countries in 2016 with a score of 0.786, 7th/145 with a 0.790 score in 2015, 9th/142 with a 0.7814 grade in 2014, 5th/133 with 0.7832 in 2013, 8th/135 with 0.7757 in 2012, 8th/134 with 0.7685 in 2011, 9th/134 with 07654 in 2010, 9th/134 with 0.7579 in 2009, 6th/130 with 0.7568 in 2008, 6th/128 with 0.7629 in 2007 and 6th/115 with an overall score of 0.7516 in 2006.
Launched in 2006, The Global Gender Gap Index provides a framework to measure the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking the progress of closing these gaps over time, according to this year’s report.
This year’s report also showed the Philippines:

• shared first place with a perfect 1.000 score with 24 others in the field of “educational attainment”;

• dropped to 42nd spot from 36th last year in terms of “health and survival” even as it kept a 0.979 score;

• and stayed in 13th place as it maintained a 0.416 grade in terms of “political empowerment”.

Among others, the report noted that the Bahamas, Colombia, Jamaica, Laos and the Philippines have achieved “full parity” in terms of “political and economic leadership” and that “women and men are already equally likely to attain managerial positions” in these countries.
The Philippines, it noted, “manages to narrow its Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap due to increases in wage equality for similar work and women’s estimated earned income.”
“The country’s Health and Survival gender gap remains open for a second year, although its Educational Attainment gender gap remains fully closed.”
For Women’s Business Council of the Philippines, Inc. Chairperson Carolina “Chiqui” Escareal-Go, however, the Philippines still has a long way to go towards achieving full parity between women and men, the country’s performance in the latest report notwithstanding.
“… Despite better awareness of women’s rights, or the many laws supporting gender diversity or equality, Filipino women still face many issues that prevent their full participation in society — like women’s representation in corporate boards or (perceived) women’s roles that remain stereotypical both at work and at home,” she said in an e-mailed reply to a request for comment on Tuesday.
The report noted that if current rates of closing the gender gap “were to be maintained in the future, the overall global gender gap will close in 61 years in Western Europe, 70 years in South Asia, 74 years in Latin America and the Caribbean, 135 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, 124 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 153 years in the Middle East and North Africa, 171 years in East Asia and the Pacific, and 165 years in North America.” — Gillian M. Cortez