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Social Climate

Vive la similarité!

/ 01:33 AM March 18, 2017

For National Women’s Month, I thought it would be simplest to describe the differences between men and women according to SWS survey indicators. But after reviewing the December 2016 Social Weather Survey (a national survey of adults), I see that there are actually many more similarities than differences.

Satisfaction with life and happiness. In December 2016, 86 percent of men and 87 percent of women were fairly or else very satisfied with their lives (“medyo o lubos na nasisiyahan sa buhay”). The “medyo” and the “lubos” were of equal size.

In the same survey, 91 percent of men and 92 percent of women were feeling either fairly happy or very happy (“medyo o talagang masaya”). The two components were also of equal size.


Trend in quality of life. The items on satisfaction with life and happiness are indicators of status, or the situation at a point in time. A trend, on the other hand, is the change in a status over time.

In December 2015, the men who said their quality of life (“uri ng pamumuhay”) improved over the past year were 15 percentage points more than those who said it worsened. We call this a net +15 score of gainers over losers. Among women, on the other hand, the net score was +18, or a little higher. Both men and women got significantly better off last year.

The men who expected their quality of life to improve in the coming year exceeded those who expected it to worsen by 44 percentage points. We call this a +44 score of optimists over pessimists. Among women, net optimism was +45, or practically the same.

Feelings about governance. In the same survey, the net satisfaction with President Duterte was +66 among men, and +61 among women. The net satisfaction with the national administration was +62 among men and +60 among women.

The December 2016 report card of the national administration had 16 subjects. In 13 of these, the ratings by men and women differed by less than 10 points. Only three subjects had different grades by gender: Fighting Terrorism: men +51, women +32; Fighting Inflation: men +34, women +17; and Fighting Graft and Corruption: men +50, women +40.

Economic deprivation. The SWS deprivation items are about poverty and hunger in families rather than individuals. In the December 2016 survey, 53 percent of the families were headed by men, and 47 percent were headed by women.

Those rating their families as poor were only 41 percent of female household heads, versus 47 percent of male household heads. Those who self-rated their food as poor were only 31 percent of female household heads, versus 37 percent of male household heads. Those whose families experienced hunger were 12.5 percent of the female household heads, versus 15.2 percent of the male household heads.

The Filipino families headed by women because their husbands are working abroad are relatively well-off. Overseas workers who fail to remit funds to their families at home are the exception, not the rule.


Safety of the neighborhood. Women, unsurprisingly, are more fearful then men for their security. In December 2016, 67 percent of women, versus 58 percent of men, feared that burglars might break into their home.

Fifty-nine percent of women, versus 48 percent of men, said their streets were unsafe to walk at night. And 55 percent of women, versus 49 percent of men, said there were too many drug addicts around.

Work disadvantages. It is in the labor market where women are much disadvantaged (see “Realistic statistics on joblessness,” Opinion, 3/4/2017). In December 2016, joblessness among women was 40 percent, versus only 14 percent among men.

The median monthly wage asked by jobless women was only P6,000, versus P8,000 by jobless men, or else a daily wage of P350, versus P480 by jobless men. These are pitifully low.


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TAGS: Inquirer Opinion, Mahar Mangahas, Social Climate, SWS quality of life survey
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