MANILA — The Philippines needs to implement broad-based reforms, including restoring manufacturing as a job generation strategy, in a bid to increase economic opportunities of women in the country and in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.
In a paper titled “Increasing Economic Opportunities of Women in the APEC”, government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) noted that women’s participation in the economy is skewed toward micro and small enterprises.
It identified sustaining and scaling up enterprises; access to finance, productive resources and information; and readiness for global markets among the common challenges to women entrepreneurs.
“For most SMEs (small and medium enterprises), scaling up is key to their survival in an increasingly competitive environment,” it said.
The paper said SMEs thus should not only focus on surviving, but ensuring they move up in their operations, markets, technology and employment.
To make the business environment more enabling, the PIDS listed broad-based reforms that will benefit women’s economic opportunities, including significant infrastructure improvements and making the environment conducive for the private sector to generate jobs, especially in agriculture and tourism.
“The matter of restoring manufacturing as a job generation strategy needs to be further thought out and if possible, put into practice,” it said.
Further, the PIDS paper said that APEC economies have the possibility of expanding women’s economic opportunities through practical measures: empowering women by globalizing their outlook; more attention to micro-entrepreneurs in the informal economy in order to scale up their enterprises; and enhancing women’s enterprise competitiveness through innovation and capacity development in entrepreneurship, among others.