THE GOVERNMENT and private sector need to make remote work arrangements more inclusive to address the gender skills gap and to adjust for the care work performed by women, a government think tank said.

In a statement this week, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said women are likely to be put in “platform” work or flexible working arrangements, citing a discussion paper written by PIDS Senior Research Fellow Connie Bayudan-Dacuycuy and PIDS Research Analyst Lora Kryz Baje.

“This puts forth the issue of how they can secure jobs, what types of jobs they can secure, and whether they can sustain work on the platform,” they said.

Among the findings of their research are that workers are likely to carry skills from their work experience prior to adopting work-from-home (WFH) arrangements. The authors said not all women workers have this experience because of their lower labor force participation rate relative to men.

“Without policies and programs towards skills development, the skills gap between genders is likely to remain, if not widen,” the authors said.

Providing training is “crucial” to improve skills regardless of work arrangements and the government needs to upgrade digital systems to make training accessible while bringing more markets together.

Women will also benefit from this more, allowing them to harness benefits like economic empowerment, and the flexibility while in remote-work jobs to perform housework and otherwise participate in the care economy.

The researchers also called for policies to compensate for care work in order to boost the labor force participation of women even as new forms of work arrangements become available. Unpaid care work is one of the reasons women, especially those who are married and with families, do not participate in the labor force.

“It also puts a limit on how much workers can put into their platform work. Thus, it is imperative to craft programs to address the care economy,” the researchers said.

Providing support for child care services and institutionalizing a four-day work week were among the recommendations made by the study to allow women with care responsibilities to maximize their labor force presence. — Gillian M. Cortez