ONLINE TRAINING service Coursera said the share of female first-time registrants to its courses fell to 47% in 2020 from 54% in each of the preceding two years, possibly reflecting women’s outsized share of household duties and childcare, including the supervision of children studying at home.

Betty Vandenbosch, Coursera, Inc. chief content officer, said in a virtual interview that the findings reported by Coursera make the Philippines an outlier.

“That’s different than most of the rest of the world and I have to assume that has to do with the way COVID happened, the way that people had to deal with COVID in the very early days. It may be that in the Philippines, childcare was different,” she said Wednesday.

“The Philippines already has many more women learners than men, and that is very different. Lots and lots of women are on our platform. But I do think that dip had to do with the roles that women had to take during COVID.”

Southeast Asian neighbors Malaysia and Singapore both saw the share of women among new registered learners increase in 2020, Coursera said.

The Philippine share has since bounced back to 56% in the 12 months to June 2021. The growth rate for women registered for online classes was 774%.

“Many countries, particularly emerging economies, have seen a dramatic increase in online learning participation among women year over year,” according to the report.

The Philippines has higher shares of women represented among business, government, and campus learners than the global average, Coursera found.

Female learners in the Philippines are taking classes in business, probability and statistics, data analysis, and computer programming.

Ms. Vandenbosch noted that women learners in the Philippines tend to take more entry-level certificates compared to their counterparts in Singapore and Malaysia.

“Women in the Philippines are really embracing new careers,” she said. — Jenina P. Ibañez