MANILA — The Philippines, as host of this year’s ASEAN summit, aims for greater participation of women in ASEAN’s political-security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars.
During the Philippines-Australia ASEAN Forum on Women’s Economic Empowerment at the Philippine International Convention Center Tuesday, Trade Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said both public and private sectors should provide an enabling environment for women for full and equal access to economic resources and opportunities in the region.
The Project Gender Impact, a study published by ASEAN Secretariat in 2016, showed that average gender gap across the 10 ASEAN member states was at 19 percent.
This reflects the gap between men and women in terms of labor participation, inadequate, and unequal access of women to economic opportunities and favorable work conditions.
Moreover, data from the International Labor Organization in 2015 noted the lower percentage of women in top level positions such as legislators, senior officials, and managers.
In Indonesia, only 20 percent of women were in these positions. Inclusion of women in these positions was slightly higher in Vietnam at 26 percent, while the Philippines was at 47 percent.
In the public sector, Inter-Parliament Union’s (IPU) data as of July 1, 2017 showed that there were only 29.5 percent women in national parliament in the Philippines; even lower in Vietnam at 26.7 percent; Indonesia at 19.8 percent; and Myanmar at 10.8 percent.
In the private sector, World Bank data in 2015 showed that women who hold top management positions in companies was at 29.9 percent in the Philippines, 22.4 percent in Vietnam, and 22.1 percent in Indonesia.
“I would like to call upon all stakeholders from government and business to work together to create an enabling environment for women to fully and equally access economic resources and opportunities,” said Maglaya.
“To proactively move forward, we must continue to advance the meaningful participation of women, not just in trade but also the representation of women in all spheres of society, particularly in the decision-making and policy-making processes in government and private sector,” she added.
Moreover, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls Dr. Sharman Stone mentioned that the gender gap in ASEAN is costing the region’s economy a 17-percent loss in gross domestic product (GDP).
“We can add 30 percent to GDP by 2025 if women’s participation is equal to men,” said Stone.
“One of the ways we can do this: women’s participation in the workforce should be increased, good salaries equal to those of man, and good workplace condition for women,” she added. (PNA)