THE Philippines is a regional leader in terms of gender equality in job hiring, specifically in the public sector, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Speaking to reporters at the launch of the Government at a Glance Southeast Asia 2019 report issued by the ADB and OECD, Chiara Bronchi, an ADB Chief Thematic Officer from the bank’s Thematic Advisory Service Cluster, said the study found that 53.7% of public sector jobs in the Philippines were occupied by women in 2016, up from 50.7% in 2009.

The Philippines outperformed the the Southeast Asian average of 47% in 2016, while also employing larger proportions of women than Japan or South Korea, where less than 50% of public sector employees were women,

“That makes actually Philippines a leader… in terms of hiring [with] a gender balance if you are in the public sector,” Ms. Bronchi said.

Edwin Lau, Head of the Reform of the Public Sector division at the OECD’s, Public Governance Directorate, said the findings reflect “meritocratic” hiring in government service.

“You also see that the types of recruitment systems that are used are very meritocratic, so they’re really built to ensure top-quality people are rising in the public service,” Mr. Lau said.

He said the Philippines is “far above” the Southeast Asian average in terms of performance management systems.

“It’s [Philippines] even using more performance management systems than OECD countries… (In) public employment… the systems are fairly well developed,” he added.

The study also found that women are underrepresented in parliamentary bodies, with only 20% of these seats across the region held by women in 2018, just 1.7 percentage point higher from a decade earlier.

The report is the first of its kind that looked into the latest available data on public administration in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. — Luz Wendy T. Noble