Women call for institutionalized policies to boost gender equality in the workplace

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WOMEN IN various fields want policies institutionalized to strengthen gender equality in the workplace, including the Philippines which is already considered a leader in the Asia Pacific region in terms of practicing and promoting opportunities.

“The Philippines is doing better than other countries in Asia,” Kristine Romano, a partner at McKinsey & Company, said during the Womenomics and the Future of Work forum on May 17.

However, she added, there are still issues of inequality that women face.

She cited McKinsey’s study indicating that the Philippines stands to add $40 billion to its annual gross domestic product by 2025 if the country prioritizes giving women equal rights in the work force.

Amor Curaming, program manager for Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE), also urged companies to prioritize gender equality by establishing a clear set of rules.

“There is a need to institutionalize practice,” Ms. Curaming said, “A lot companies would not have a policy on it but practices.”

For her part, Amy Luinstra, program manager and gender advisor for the East Asia Pacific International Group and World Bank Group, said childcare is one area that governments and the private sector could improve.

“Childcare should be prioritized in the workforce,” Ms. Luinstra said, noting that financial subsidies are not the only means of providing maternal benefits.

She said childcare leaves (when a child is sick), for example, is another valuable benefit for working mothers.

The forum was organized by the PBCWE, Philippine Women’s Economic Network, Investing in Women, McKinsey&Company, and the International Finance Corporation. — Gillian M. Cortez