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Women in the Philippines

Education is considered a powerful means in honing capabilities and talents of men and women, education will lead to personal, economic and professional empowerment of every woman. Even until now, the many societies around the world still not fully accepted the reality that women can perform very well in different activities.

Philippines have a long history of patriarchy, oligarchy, and subordination of women, but in the present time the perception of Philippine society about Filipino women alleviated, through the support of catholic church and presence of corruption and gender symbolism in the country, these two significant factors are allowing women to enter into the male dominated political and social arena (Silvestre 2). According to Jo Beall (1996)

Because women and men experience cities differently due to their different roles and activities, and women’s needs are seldom represented in policy or planning, it is essential that these interests are now actively advanced (qtd. in UNCHS 6). The UNCHS addressed this vital role of women around the world by focusing on issues of basic services, economic capacity and support and rights of women in the society; however roles of women in the society are changing due to the societies’ diversity and effect of globalization.

The Philippine government recognized equal protection and rights to every woman as stated in the Philippine constitution. The constitution gives special concern to working women and expressly mandates the state to protect them. The government is required to provide safe and healthful working conditions and opportunities that will enhance their welfare and well-being to realize their full potential in the service of the nation.

According to the article 13 section 14 of the Philippine constitution they quoted the following: The state shall protect working women by providing safe and healthful working conditions, taking into account their maternal functions, and such facilities and opportunities that will enhance their welfare and enable them to realize their full potential in the service of the nation.

These goals mentioned in the constitution is supported by the vision of some non-governmental and international organizations like The United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality who presented a report of regarding the agency’s task force on indigenous women (2005) the agency’s program called INDISCO which marked significant improvement in indigenous women particularly in Baguio City and Bankun in the province of Benguet Philippines.

Indigenous women leaders became active in decision and policy making of their communities and local government legislative bodies. Through the influence of indigenous women leaders in the local government they became successful in changing policies for their own benefit (15). The Second Women’s Health and Safe Motherhood Project conducted by the World Bank selected the province of Sorsogon in the Philippines where they can implement an Indigenous People’s Development Plan.

The WHSMP2 aims to increase the access of indigenous and disadvantaged women to quality and cost-effective reproductive health services, moreover to develop and carry out sustainable systems. Filipino women showed ambivalence by accepting choices between modernity and tradition, empowerment and disempowerment, unofficial power and official power, feminism and traditional cultural constructions of women (Edward & Roces 113). There are two important diasporic movements that are clearly associated with Filipino women and these are the overseas contract worker.

In the Filipino marriage tradition it is said to be that the purpose is to preserve the family as the basic unit of Filipino society. Although they come to different countries because of financial and economic reasons, many Filipinas are involved in intermarriages not because of economic reasons but are actually motivated to become wives and mothers. Even if Filipino women marry other nationalities many of them are not having a hard time dealing with others culture since women in the Philippines are considerably literate.

According to the 2003 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey the completion rates on elementary and high school where females and evidently consistent higher than males. Based on researches regarding functional literacy is that aside from the basic writing, reading and numerical skill is the ability to communicate and comprehend. In 2003 survey regarding functional literacy, there were an estimated 20 million (69 in every 100) women in this level of functional literacy while men in this level were estimated at 18 million only (63 in every 100).

Many of Filipino women still maintain and follow some traditions from previous generations like using traditional medicines or even consulting to herbal and faith healers, but have since changed into a modern approach concerning health maternity understanding and experience. In rural areas there is a problem regarding access to community health services, many Filipino communities have limited use of the community health services and they have not got a lot of information about what kind of service are available in their vicinity (Cakir 5).

According to the Philippine Social Security Association the present administration strengthened the National Health Insurance Act of 1995; this law is the foundation of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), in order to provide all Filipinos with sustainable, affordable and progressive social health insurance. Member of Philhealth are covered both hospitalization (limited to Philhealth accredited hospitals only) and outpatient care.

In the Philippine population, women represent almost half of the total population of the country, its status in the Philippine society however inequalities are still evident in the Philippine politics and labor. The Human Development Report 2002 (UNDP) revealed that 35% of Filipino administrators and managers are women considered one of the highest in the world (Hega 1). Women who involve in business concentrate only in less dynamic activities within the informal economy wherein they apply traditional domestic knowledge and skills (Cassirer & Addati 2).

The gender situation in the Philippines is characterized by sharp contradictions. It shows samples of women involved in Philippine politics, professional and academic excellence and decision making on the other hand these good images of Filipino women had been replaced by prostituted women, economically and disadvantage women, battered wives and exploited migrant workers (Anonuevo 1). According to the study of Asian Development Bank regarding the Socio-legal Status of Women in Asian countries including Philippines there are major issues concerning women:

That is the poor implementation and enforcement of laws that safeguard women’s rights; and difficulty in organizing women for sustained unified action as workers, consumers and voters, which weakens the ability of groups to promote women’s concerns and increases the marginalization of women. Philippines along with Indonesia and Malaysia both recognize the contribution of overseas domestic workers to the economy; many migrant workers take up domestic work even if there are no laws that will protect them.

Majority of Filipino women in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other Asian countries are domestic helpers, entertainer or “Japayuki” especially in Japan. Moreover there have been many cases of violence, sexual harassment, abuse against foreign women domestic workers. 17 out of 19 Filipino women were promised jobs before leaving the Philippines. There are many cases wherein jobs given were dissimilar from those promised by recruiters who are illegal. Filipino women not only in Japan but as well as in Taiwan and Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia were forced to engage in sexual practices with customers and other individuals (Cameron & Newman 9).

Over the passed centuries Philippines has low cases of HIV/AIDS compared to the neighboring countries. Nowadays where number of Filipino men and women overseas foreign workers increased, HIV/AIDS became a major health issue. According to the statistics presented by the University of California San Francisco as of 2008 the total population of the Philippines is 90,457,000, 8,300 people are living with AIDS and out of 8,300, 2,200 Filipino women have AIDS.

According to the report of World Health Organization regarding 2008-2009 Programme Budget to the Philippines mentioned that they supported the government in their program which prioritizes health issues aiming to achieve health system goals such as better health outcomes, responsiveness of the health system and equitable health financing. Philippine secondary school enrollment for women in the Philippines is higher than in other Southeast Asian countries, Thailand and the Philippines are exceptions with unusually high university enrollment rates for women.

In the Philippines, 33 percent of women were enrolled in 1995, compared with 25 percent of men. According to the data presented by the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, the completion rate of female in the secondary level is higher at 61. 87 percent (62 in every 100 girls) compared to that of male at 48. 39 percent (48 in every 100 boys). Medical discipline which includes Nursing, Pediatrics, and Dental medicine posted the highest percentage of female enrollees at 27.

44 percent followed by Business Administration and other discipline like Education at 24. 35 percent. Business Administration and Related Discipline produced 48,369 (18. 35%) female graduates, however in the field of Medical and Allied Discipline female posted 37,371 (14. 18%) graduates. Then in the field of Education and Teacher Training which came third produced 24,523 (9. 30%) female graduates. Filipino women also dominated vocational courses such as housekeeping, guestroom maintenance and jewelry making.

The percentage of licensed professional women in 2006 was higher totaled 63,574 at 57. 72 percent than male licensed professional totaled only 40,922. Among the 63,574 women professionals, female graduates of the Nursing profession accounted for the highest percentage at 43. 27 percent (27,495), followed by Professional Teachers-Elementary Level at 43 percent. The issue about the reproductive health bill in the Philippines has been a major issue concerning reproductive health of Filipino couple and as well as it is essential to Filipino women’s health and rights.

According to the study conducted by Guttmacher Institute regarding needs of women’s contraceptive in the Philippines many Filipino women suffer from unintended pregnancy, more than half of all pregnancies in the Philippines are unintended. Because of poverty and lack of education women and couples do not have the knowledge, tools and assistance they needed, poor women needed assistance to prevent unintended pregnancy without suffering their reproductive and sexual health, 35% of women aged15–49 who are poor account for 53% of unmet need for contraception.

Providing reproductive health care to all Filipino women is crucial and challenging for the government goals to improve maternal health, eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, improve educational attainment, reduce child mortality, and promote women’s empowerment and gender equality. Works Cited Anonuevo, Carlos Antonio Q. “An Overview of the Gender Situation in the Philippines. ” September 2000. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Philippine Office. 23 April 2009 <http://library. fes. de/pdf-files/bueros/philippinen/50069. pdf>. Cakir, Kaya.

“Filipino Community Primary Health Care Need Assessment Project. ” February 1999. Merrylands Community Health Centre. 23 April 2009 < http://www. dhi. gov. au/mhu/pdf/central/FilipinoCommunityNeedsAssessment. pdf>. Cameron, Sally and Edward Newman. 2008. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 23 April 2009 <http://www. unodc. org/pdf/crime/human_trafficking/Exec_summary_UNU. pdf>. Cassirer, Naomi and Laura Addati. “Expanding women’s employment opportunities: Informal economy workers and the need for childcare. ” 2007. International Labour Organization. 23 April 2009 <http://www. ilo.

org/public/english/employment/policy/events/informal/download/cassirer-en. pdf>. Edwards, Louise P. and Mina Roces. Women in Asia: Tradition, Modernity, and Globalisation. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2000. Hega, Mylene. “Participation of Women in Philippine Politics and Society: A Situationer. ” March 2003. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Philippine Office. 23 April 2009 <http://library. fes. de/pdf-files/bueros/philippinen/50067. pdf>. “Indigenous People’s Development Plan. ” October 2004. World Bank. 23 April 2009 < http://www-wds. worldbank. org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDS

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