MANILA—As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday vowed that his administration would strive to maintain the country’s distinction as one of the world’s most gender-equal society.
In a statement, the President likewise vowed that government shall continue recognizing the invaluable contributions of women in various sectors of society.
“We are fortunate, as we are grateful, that the Philippines has been a fertile ground for outstanding women in the in various sectors. The Philippines ranks high in the Asia Pacific region and in the world in terms of gender equality. My administration shall strive to maintain this distinction as well as continue to recognize their invaluable contributions in sports, science, governance, education, public service and the arts,” Duterte said.
According to a 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) report, the Philippines is number one among Asia-Pacific nations in narrowing the gap between women and men in 2016.
Globally, the country retained its seventh spot out of 144 countries surveyed in the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report.
The Philippines scored 78.6 percent out of 100 percent — meaning it has nearly closed the gap in four key areas monitored by the report: Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, Economic Opportunity and Political Empowerment.
According to the report, it ranked first globally in terms of educational attainment and the health and survival indicators.
However, the Philippines ranked 17th in the political empowerment indicator and 21st in the economic participation and opportunity indicator.
New Zealand is the only other Asia-Pacific nation in the global top 10, coming in at number nine, while economic heavyweights in the region such as China, Japan and Korea ranked 99th, 111th and 116th, respectively.
With the world commemorating the struggle for women’s rights, Duterte said that “indeed, women are heroes.”
“Generations have been witness to the amazing ways by which women have transformed societies by playing the role of mothers, workers, intellectuals, educators, caregivers, soldiers, activists, artists and leaders,” he said.
“The entire world can look up to women — for their creativity and imagination, for their courage and boldness, for their self-sacrifice and charity,” the President said.
And with this year’s theme of “Be Bold for Change,” Duterte said he hoped that International Women’s Day would spur everyday awareness and inspire change in attitude in families, communities and the country.
“Together, we can make change work for women and women can make change work,” Duterte said.