In commemoration of International Working Women’s Day, advocates for women’s rights urged Filipino women to remain vigilant in fighting for the economic empowerment of women in the Philippines, and called on election candidates to prioritize women’s welfare in their agendas.
International Working Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 to celebrate the successes of women and promote women’s welfare and gender equality.
In the Philippines, this year’s theme was “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda”.
“…we need to continue our struggle especially with the escalating want for regular jobs, decent wages, and safe working conditions. Now, more than ever, women’s collective action is necessary until we achieve the genuine emancipation that we desire,” reads a press statement by the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a non-government organization.
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According to the CWR, more than 1.03 million women remain unemployed, while 2.25 million are underemployed.
In addition, CWR revealed there are currently 15.29 million employed women, of which only 55% or 8.4 million are wage and salary workers. A big majority of female wage and salary workers are service workers (1.64 million). Laborers and unskilled workers account for 2.64 million.
Also according to CWR, female wage and salary workers receive the lowest daily wages at PhP233 and PhP168 respectively.
Since 2010, women employed in permanent jobs increased by only 4.43%, seasonal or temporary workers increased by 16.35%. Daily or weekly- based employment, in the meantime, increased by 72.87%.
This means that a majority of women struggle with job security.
“Notorious implementors of contractual work belong to large companies with businesses in wholesale and retail, manufacturing, and services where 75% to 85% of the workers are women,” CWR illustrated.
Aside from unstable jobs, wages also remain low. In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the region with the highest poverty incidence, the daily minimum wage ranges from PhP222.00 to PhP250.00 only.
Mothers who contribute to the family income are still expected to do household chores and raise the kids.
Worldwide, women and girls account for six out of 10 of the world’s poorest, and two thirds of the world’s illiterate people; only 18 percent of the world’s parliamentarians are women; and one third of all women are subjected to violence, whether in times of armed conflict or behind closed doors at home.
A report on In Asia cites limited job opportunities and business development as some of the causes behind the vulnerability of women and girls to extreme poverty. This aside from existing inequalities in education, as well as gender-based discrimination.
“The promise of EDSA and democracy to empower every Filipino – especially the poor and vulnerable – is yet to be fully realized. Despite the enactment of landmark laws that seek to address social inequalities and empower women and marginalized sectors, and despite steady economic growth in recent years, millions of Filipinos still suffer from poverty, hunger and malnutrition, violence and the adverse effects of natural disasters,” lamented Romeo C. Dongeto, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD).
“The 2016 elections gives us another chance to use the sovereign power vested on us by our Constitution towards building a more prosperous and sustainable future for all Filipinos,” Dongeto added.
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