We’re claiming it: 2017 will be an excellent year for Pinays and for women all over the world.
When it comes to gender equality, Filipinos should be proud. We have, little by little, been closing the gap. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Gender Gap Report, the Philippines ranked 7th out of 144 countries last year. Being in the top 10 for the past few years has made us the leading pro-women country in East Asia and the Pacific.
Our desire for a more progressive and inclusive society, however, makes us wish for laws and privileges that are being enjoyed by women in other countries. We talked to Atty. Hazel Abagat, who works for the Regional Trial Court Branch 61, about laws that might make the Philippines more ~*fun*~ for women.
1. Gender quota in boardrooms
If you’re a female boss, supervisor, owner, or community leader, congratulations. You’re one of the few who represents women leadership in the country. In the past few years, it has been glaringly obvious that there aren’t many women in boardrooms, the Senate, the Lower House, and the Cabinet. The lack of women in these settings, the chances of having our needs met are slim; they can be easily overlooked or even discarded. Germany, with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the helm, now requires the biggest European companies to give 30 percent of the supervisory seats to women. Other countries that also require boardroom gender quotas are: Norway, Spain, France, Iceland, Italy, Belgium, and Netherlands. These countries are now on an entirely different level on the quest for gender equality. It’s high time the Philippines joins them.
2. Access to top state nurseries and day care.
Did you know that in Sweden, as of 2015, they give a monthly allowance of SEK 1,050 or almost P6,000 per child until they turn 16? That would take a load off of you working mothers who can use the money for better meals and clothes for the family. Here’s more: If you’re a resident, you won’t have to worry about your child’s education since school—for those aged 6 to 19—is free of charge; they even get a free lunch meal! According to Atty. Abagat, in the Philippines, we only have general laws like RA 6722, which establishes a day care center in every barangay. And it’s only for children ages 4 and below. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority reveals that four million Filipino children and youth were out of school in 2013.
3. Ban on strip clubs
Iceland, they say, is the best place to be a woman. This small European country has topped the WEF’s List for eight consecutive years. In 2010, Iceland placed a ban on strip clubs. That’s a pretty classy way of saying no to the objectification of women. The Philippines may have several governing laws to make sure that women are protected from exploitation and forced prostitution, but what the country has been consistently lacking is execution.
4. Better maternity leave
In the Philippines, working pregnant women can avail of 60 days paid maternity leave. Sounds great, right? Well, you might take that back once you hear that in Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave—of those, 60 days are reserved for the dad, which means mothers are entitled to 420 days of paid leave. You guys, not only do Swedish moms get to enjoy more time with their kids, dads enjoy the same perk! Plus, parents are allowed to use the parental leave until their child turns eight.
It’s time we work toward women empowerment and gender equality by doing what we can to improve the lives of every hardworking Filipino woman.