Letter to the Editor
September 30, 2011
No poll can refute the fact that Filipino women, majority of whom are burdened with joblessness, lack of social services and injustice, are in fact faced with the direst of situations. This is our reaction to the Newsweek magazine’s report ranking Philippines as 17th best country in the world for women.
The ranking made by the magazine which was based on a roundup of United Nations and the World Economic Forum data on five indicators: justice, health, education, economic and politics is questionable if not unbelievable. The real condition of women in the country gives a far more credible claim than nominal figures churned out by government agencies and other international institutions. One need only look around to know that Filipino women are probably one of the most miserable in the world.
To belie Newsweek’s claim that the Philippines is among the “top countries that offer women the most expansive rights and the best quality of life, we would like to cite the following data:
• Every hour, a Filipina becomes a victim of violence against women; there are 2-3 victims of rape or attempted rape daily in the Philippines (Center for Women’s Resources, from consolidated PNP and DSWD reports)
• Three women have been victims of extra-judicial killings under the current administration; 30 women political prisoners remain incarcerated (Karapatan National Alliance for Human Rights)
• The Philippines is one of 55 countries accounting for 94% of death in the world (World Health Organization)
• Government spending per Filipino per day is merely P6.85 on education, P1.10 on health, P0.16 on housing (Ibon)
• Labor participation of women remains low at only 49.4% compared to 78.6% of men (BLES, January 2011). Many of them are self-employed or work as part of family labor
• A million Filipino women in the labor force are unemployed
• More than 4,000 Filipinos leave the country daily to seek employment abroad, majority are women, mostly to work as domestic helpers
• Consumer price index, which measures the price level of consumer goods and services, is at its highest since 2006 base year, while legislated wage levels have been stagnant since 2008
The Aquino government was quick to use the Newsweek poll to laud its supposed efforts to promote equal gender opportunities in spheres of public policies and programs. It is a comical act in deceiving the public for its miserable failure in addressing women’s demands for decent jobs and salaries, adequate social services and justice.
GABRIELA National Alliance of Women’s Organizations
Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines