There are at least two major general trends in work in the Philippines that affect men and women alike: inadequate employment opportunities and increasing precariousness.
But how different women’s experiences with work in the Philippines are can be seen in a number of gender-specific indicators. The gender gap in labour force participation in 2017 was at 30 per cent, or 26.7 million men and 16.1 million women. Similarly, of the 40.3 million employed Filipinos, only 15.2 million were women and 25.1 million were men.
Men also outnumbered women across all the major sectors: at 76.6 per cent of workers in agriculture, 57 per cent in manufacturing and 56.7 per cent in services. Particularly in the information and communication technology (ICT) subsector, men outnumbered women by 50 per cent. And yet, there were almost equal populations of men (at 35 million) and women (at 34.9 million) of working age.
Women are more likely than men to find themselves in precarious work—having lower pay, greater job insecurity and/or fewer employment benefits. Among formally employed women, for instance, 60 per cent were salaried workers in 2017, with almost a fourth found in elementary occupations.
Women workers have also begun to outnumber men as migrant workers. Of the 2.3 million overseas workers in 2017, 1.2 million were women, with 54 per cent employed as labourers and unskilled workers and 59 per cent found in elementary occupations (at 59 per cent), mostly as domestic helpers or caregivers
In this paper, Rowena Laguilles-Timog, captures the current debate over the future of work in the Philippines. It encapsulates feminist perspectives, especially in relation to the more mainstream arguments. Amid the differing opinions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a force that will change how work is experienced in the Philippines, especially by women, the author highlights several “touch points” for strategies on moving forward: An improved, more gender-responsive e-government, upskilling and ensuring ICT access for workers and entrepreneurs, social protection for workers and a reconsideration of the current development path taken.
This paper is part of the regional project "Women and the future of work in Asia". With insights from distinguished researchers in nine Asian countries, FES and its partners aim to further promote gender equality in the world of work, with emphasis on enhancing women’s participation in public and political life and promoting decent work for all along with gender-just and human-centric economic models.
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