Social Climate

Women’s joblessness, etc.

/ 02:07 AM March 12, 2016

To mark International Women’s Day last March 8, this piece reviews gender patterns found in the responses to some core indicators of the quarterly national Social Weather Surveys.

The figures cited here are simple averages of the four surveys of 2015—i.e., using the combined sample of 4,800 persons for the entire year, rather than any one quarterly sample of 1,200.  This simplifies, as well as strengthens, the presentation.


Women are twice as jobless as men. The most blatant disadvantage of women, compared to men, is the risk of not having a job. This is seen in all the surveys ever since SWS began tracking joblessness in 1993. In 2015 as a whole, the jobless rate of adult women was 31 percent—double the 15 percent jobless of adult men.

In the SWS surveys, the “jobless” are those saying they have no job (walang trabaho), and also that they are looking for one. The denominator of the jobless rate is the adult labor force, the sum of the jobless and those with a job.  Since the SWS surveys are done on adults (18+ years old) only, the SWS statistics on joblessness exclude ages 15-17. The official working age of 15+ years old is what the official labor force statistics use.


The adult population is of course half female.  The labor force in the 2015 SWS surveys is 45 percent female, which is natural since many women are busy at home, and not interested in a job. But, since it is harder for those interested in a job to find one, women are 62 percent, a solid majority, of the jobless.

Almost half of jobless women already had jobs, but left them. The SWS surveys have three types of jobless: (a) those who left their jobs voluntarily, (b) those who lost their jobs, and (c) those looking for their first job.

In 2015, women who had resigned were 46 percent of jobless women. On the other hand, men who had resigned were only 30 percent of jobless men.  This seems to indicate that women are less content than men with their jobs.  Is this due to women having poorer wages, or poorer working conditions, or both?  There should be more research on this.

Those who lost their jobs involuntarily were 35 percent of jobless women, compared to 56 percent of jobless men.  Lost jobs indicate a lack of vigor in the economy; apparently this affects male workers much more than female workers.

Those looking for a job for the first time were 19 percent of jobless women, and 14 percent of jobless men.  It is harder for a woman to find a first job.

Yet women and men are equally optimistic about jobs. In 2015, those seeing more jobs available in the next 12 months were 38 percent of women, and 39 percent of men.

Those seeing fewer jobs available in the next 12 months were 18 percent of women, and 19 percent of men.  The balances from 100 percent are those seeing no change in job availability. Optimism exceeds pessimism in both genders.


Meanwhile, women’s reports of the past trend and the expected future trend in their quality of life are slightly more favorable than men’s. In 2015, 32 percent of women, versus 29 percent of men, said that their personal quality of life (uri  ng  pamumuhay) had improved in the past 12 months. Those saying that it had deteriorated were 26 percent of both women and men.  These numbers imply a net 3-point advantage for women in terms of improvement from the past.

In 2015, 43 percent of women, versus 40 percent of men, said that their personal quality of life would improve in the next 12 months.  Those expecting it to deteriorate were 4 percent of women, versus 6 percent of men.  These numbers imply a net 4-point (correctly rounded) advantage for women in terms of their optimism about the future.

These advantages of women are small yet significant, since the error margin of a size-4,800 sample is only one and a half points.

* * *

Women and men give equally high grades to President Noynoy Aquino and his administration. In 2015 as a whole, women were 58 percent satisfied, and only 27 percent dissatisfied, with the personal performance of the President, giving a net satisfaction rating of +31, which we classify as Good (from +30 to +49).

Men, on the other hand, were 55 percent satisfied, and 29 percent dissatisfied, with P-Noy’s personal performance, giving him a net satisfaction rating of +29, which is on the upper end of Moderate (from +10 to +29).  The ratings given by women and men are almost the same; the women’s rating happens to cross over into the next grade.

Actually, the ratings of both men and women were all Good in the second up to the fourth quarters of 2015.  The 2015 average was dampened by P-Noy’s ratings in the first quarter, of only +17 (Moderate) among women, and +5 (Neutral) among men, due to the Mamasapano incident.

For the national administration in general, in 2015 women were 56 percent satisfied and 23 percent dissatisfied, for a net rating of +32 (correctly rounded).  Men were 56 percent satisfied and 26 percent dissatisfied, for a net rating of +31.  The women’s and men’s scores are Good for 2015 as a whole, even though the women’s score was only +23, and the men’s score was only +14, in the first quarter.

We in SWS say that the quality of life includes, among many other things, the quality of governance.  Definitely, bad governance makes people feel bad. Overthrowing a bad government, as in 1986, definitely makes people feel good.

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TAGS: employment, gender, international women’s day, Men, Social Weather Surveys, women
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