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September 25, 2017

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Gender inequality still prevalent in Philippines: WB

MANILA--Filipino working women are paid just 76 percent of what their male counterparts get, indicating that despite growth and development there is still a significant gap in opportunities for men and women in the Philippines, according to a World Bank (WB) report.

The phenomenal economic progress achieved by East Asia and Pacific nations has not removed gender inequality, and countries in the region, including the Philippines, need to put in place policies that would address the issue, said the World Bank report, titled "Toward Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific," released in Manila the other day.

Women in the Philippines are paid less than men for doing similar work, earning 76 cents for every dollar that men earn, the report said.

Filipino women are also more likely to work in small firms and in the informal sector, and in lower-paid occupations, it said.

The Washington, D.C.-based development agency said that gender equality, while a very good goal in its own right, is also smart economics because it leads to higher productivity and incomes, which would in turn lead to poverty reduction.

It would also result in better investments and improved decision-making quality, it said.

Motoo Konishi, World Bank country director for the Philippines, said during the launch of the report that East Asian economies have been growing rapidly, and this has had a lot of positive impact.

But based on the report, gender balance is not one of the things that automatically comes with an improving economy, he said.

"What it says also is unless you change the policies, gender imbalance does not change. You cannot sit and wait. The growth path will not change the gender gap. That is they have to adopt policies that are different to make sure that growth benefits everybody," Konishi said.

"Economic growth alone cannot do it. Policies must be put in place," said Ximena del Carpio, senior World Bank economist and co-author of the report.

Konishi said the Philippines is in many ways advanced in gender and development. However, there are still problems that need to be addressed, he said.

The report showed a disparity in terms of opportunity to manage enterprises in the Philippines. Only about 30 percent of medium-sized enterprises have female managers, while just about 20 percent of large enterprises have female managers.

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