A place for women


More often than not, the Philippines does not rate very well when it comes to international rankings. Whenever we hear of yet another global listing, Filipinos wince in anticipation of more bad news. Take, for instance, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport being named the worst airport in the world.

But now and then, we get some very good news. The 2011 Global Gender Gap rankings released by the World Economic Forum lists the Philippines as the eighth best country in the world when it comes to gender equality. Simply put, we live in a country where women have the same chances as their male equivalents. Nothing to surprise us. We naturally love our lola, mama, tita and ate – and we match what the heart feels with actions: we treat them well.

Last year, the Philippines already ranked ninth among 135 countries in the smallest gender gap. This year the country moved up one rung higher – and is the only Asian country in the top 10. The Global Gender Gap top 10 list boasts excellent company with Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden, which finished atop the list. Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, the Philippines, Lesotho and Switzerland follow in that order.

The countries were ranked based on four categories: educational attainment, health and survival, economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment.

We should all be proud that the Philippines actually got a perfect score in the category of educational attainment, along with 21 other countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. Here, women get exactly the same opportunities to study in primary, secondary and tertiary educational levels as Filipino males, something that any country in the world should be proud of.

On female life expectancy, the Philippines tied with 37 other countries at the top spot. Filipino women generally live longer than Filipino men, and as long as women in First World countries.

That women in the Philippines enjoy almost as many benefits as their male counterparts should not come as a surprise considering that we come from a largely matriarchal society. Filipinos have long been told to respect women, and this is seen in the fact that free public education for both men and women is a given in the Philippines, something that is surprisingly uncommon in many countries. Here, we are not only used to Filipino women doing well in general, but doing even better than men.

In the last two categories, although the Philippines also scored relatively well, much remains to be done.

In terms of economic participation, the Philippines ranked 15th overall, which tells us that significant obstacles still exist, preventing women from doing as well as the men in the workplace. Fortunately, this might be changing in some ways. In a research done by Grant Thornton International earlier this year, it was shown that Filipino women held 47 percent of senior management positions in the country, easily the best in the world and higher than the average by as much as 23 percentage points. The Department of Labor and Employment’s statistics show that women in executive positions outnumber their male counterparts. What this shows is that women have succeeded in boardrooms but not as much in workrooms.

In terms of political empowerment, the Philippines ranked 16th, and this is clearly an area that should produce better results in the future. As a political force, women in the Philippines remain marginalized, and it is up to the government, whether national or local, to give women a stronger voice.

Of course, we note that there remain other pressing concerns, such as ending human trafficking and preventing violence against women. And the state of maternal and child health care in the country is still short of the MDG (Millennium Development Goals) target.

Nevertheless, ranking eighth in the world feels pretty good, but we can assuredly do much better – we should do much better. All Filipino women deserve it.

One can’t help but think there is much we take for granted living in the Philippines. Sometimes, it takes looking at the rest of the world to see the good in our country – as the Global Gender Gap rankings show us.

Here is indeed a good place for women to live in. Even if only because here is a place where women are respected and can become anything they want, be it president or a bus driver; and perhaps more importantly, a place where mothers are highly regarded and well-loved, never mind if overworked – a place, warts and all, they can happily call home.

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  • skysenshi

    That’s great to hear. My father is just like you. :)

    • marty

      is it really a man though just because there is a male photo, who knows ? the writing is like a female to me. Feminists use male avatars regularly

      • Anonymous

        And now he/it can draw conclusions from a mere photo of Thurgood Marshall.

        Hey troll, yours looked like a human picture to me but after repeatedly beating-up women over and over with your most gender-insensitive comments, I think you may not even be a man.

        Hi Skysenshi. That was very flattering of you to say. Give your father my warmest regards!

  • marty

    I think Mr Spazio will find that it is HE (if “he” is a he ) who is the dinosaur, and due to the government’s enacting of more and more draconian anti-male legislation there will be more men’s rights coming to the Philippines. Feminism has achieved it’s goal but now they are only about punishing men for “revenge” for what they think  the “patriarchs” did in the past. The more masculine women now seek the power jobs. Due to all the legislation, women have “rights” without responsibilities, but women will NEVER NEVER change, they look for a man to work for her and sacrifice himself.

     It is feminists and men who pedastalise women who are the dinosaurs now, it is MEN who need the equality here. But the male power elite use their power against the VAST majority of men. They use mostly male taxes against men.  ALL spheres of government spend more on females except penal , of course. In ALL the top 10 most common deadly  illnesses, it is men who die in much higher percentages. How many women die at work ? Virtually 0.

    Currently only a few men are affected by all this , only a few elite rich women can afford legal advice that allows them to terrorise their husbands , throw them out of the house using false allegations, steal their children, But one day it will come to ALL Pinoys. Feminism has been a slow evolution , it is merely continuing gynocentricity, men putting women first, and being chivalrous. One day there will REAL revolution when men stop thinking about females first and stop sacrificing themselves for females. Women are entitlement princesses who think they have a right to our hard earned cash , but NEVER share their own. Men can live without women, but women cannot live without males to do the dirty work.

    1 small personal thing Mr Spazio, my pinay lady is buntis , and i intend to bring up my baby boy to grow up into a man in this feminising world, and warn him about the dangers of bad women and tell him that men are important and how MEN built the world and always will.

    I hope to see more and more men’s rights letters and articles in the Inquirer, not just ones pandering to females. There is an ongoing attack on males and maleness in this world, men must realise this and start to push it back. This is my final post, i hope that i have given some men hope and others something to think about

    • Anonymous

      Ok, be a man… don’t take it back; I do hope that was really your final post :)

      “Men” like you should get together in a remote island where you can speak all day of the “evils” of gender equality without poisoning the minds of well-meaning parents who only wish for equal opportunities for their children.  You who have gotten a “pinay lady… buntis” is obviously not that kind of a parent.  And you have not even bothered to ask your pinay lady what plans she has of her own about the child or if she, in the first place, even agrees with all your woman-bashing. Tsk… tsk… But of course, you don’t treat her as an equal so her views do not at all matter. Sigh!

      Yup, you did give others something to think about— that all the more vigilant we should all be (both men and women) to protect whatever progress the Philippines has made in reducing the gender gap against trolls like you who think in a zero-sum mentality, i.e., the gains of one sex is the loss of the other.

      Can you wager your first-born if I can prove to you that I am a man who just correctly thinks like one? He so definitely needs to be fathered by a real man :)

  • Cris

    The Philippines is in reality not really a place for women but rather a place for men.  Why?  because men here are lucky to have better women.  Women here is not really strong as others perceived it to be but rather men are weak and inutile so it makes their women counterparts look strong. So maybe because women are strong here so a high number of men are weak and irresponsible.  Just look at in typical filipino homes.  Many men are jobless, abusive, have lots of vices, even wife beaters, but are their wives and these women’s rights protected?  I don’t think so!  A lot of women work as maids in the country and to more of them to other countrys, reason??? because their men are inutile!   They don’t have the means to provide well their family.  So women have no choices here but to be strong and pitily look after their men. 

    So if there is a place where women are being really cared of by their men, i think it’s the place that can be really called “a place for women”.

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