Women Empowerment in the Philippines gets a boost

The Philippines has set out to develop a strongly rooted, secure and comfortable lifestyle. To fulfil this endeavour, the Philippine Commission of Women has released the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) plan 2019-2025. The GEWE plan lays out broad principles for the immediate social, political and economic development of women to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), 2030.

According to World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index released in 2021, Philippines dropped one rank to 17th spot while remaining one of the top performs in Asia. With such impressive women equality, the GEWE report targeting further improvement in women centric issues in a timely result-oriented manner is not only admirable but also serves as an example for other developing countries.

A cursory look at the document suggests a well researched document with categorical issues and segregated targets to achieve the vision. The GEWE aims at a significant reduction in the gender gap through 7 strategic goal areas. A look at these targets suggests a well thought out plan to cover the maximum scope of women’s lives.

On the economic front, the GEWE aims at dimensions such as expanded job opportunities, wage equality, organized labour, economic security, entrepreneurship support and gender-equal decision making. One of the notable sectors for promotion includes science and technology, Information and Communication Technology, (ICT), macro trade areas and other high growth sectors. Some notable targets include an increase in 10% of women-owned businesses, and a decrease in poverty among rural women by 7%, halving the existing wage inequality.

For human capital development, a special focus is laid out on the Muslim and indigenous women, disabled and elderly women. The strategic document lays down a path for women of marginalized communities by investing in their education, health, shelter and other development areas.

The GEWE document has a specialized focus on women health. Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) prevails in high numbers still among Filipino mothers. The vision aims at reduction of MMR from 114 per 1,00,000 live births to 90 before 2022.

Education plays a vital role in transforming our society. The document notes that highly educated women report significantly lower incidences of Sexual abuse and harassment. One of the admirable objectives includes increasing the level of women in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics by 10 percent in five years. Also, the document calls for increased performance of boys which remains lower in educational participation margin by a tenth.
The GEWE also calls for investment in shelter which indirectly affects women. The vision document calls for investment in urban low-income areas, “access to health and birthing clinics, water, electricity market; Improved access of women to finance for housing and shelter.” It also envisions more houses owned by women.

The most important objective is to heal the social fabric is to enable Filipino women to get justice. The document aims at a significant reduction in gender-based violence to ensure peace and security of women most vulnerable. The marginal groups who are most exposed to harassment are addressed for achieving better justice objectives.
Other strategic goals like participation of women in political decision making, Humanitarian and Disaster Rescue (HADR) will require government efforts to incentivize and enable omen in diverse fields to contribute. The socio-cultural norms which drive much of the stereotypes & attitudes on women have been given a rethink. A knowledge-based advocacy for the “promotion of a culture that is supportive of gender equality, diversity, and ending GBV (gender-based violence); improved understanding and action by men, including religious and community leaders, in cultural transformation for gender equality” is targeted to remedy the problem of conscious discrimination.
Overall, the Philippines has already set an example in gender equality. It is a leader among developing countries to provide for the betterment of women and constantly strives to further their conditions gives hope for women across the world.

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