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Women in the Philippines

After celebrating Women's Day all over the world for the past 100 years, how are women in the Philippines? Here are some hard figures. Of an estimated 90.75 million Philippine population in 2010, there is an equal division of the sexes – one female is to one male. Sex ratio at birth in our country last year was 0.95 which means that for every 100 newborn boys, there were 95 newborn girls. Among children under 15, there were 94 girls for every 100 boys which may reveal that more males survived from birth until adolescence. Among the elderly, there were 124 women for every 100 men which may indicate that females had longer lifespan than men in year 2010.

Table 1. Female-to-Male Ratio, Philippines, 2010

Age (World Factbook, 2011)

Literacy and Enrollment (World Economic Forum, 2011)

At birth




Under 15


Enrollment, primary




Enrollment, secondary


65 - above


Enrollment, tertiary







Literacy is defined basically as the ability to read and write. There were more females than males in all areas from literacy rate to school participation at all levels. Data show that more boys than girls dropped out of school as they advance to higher education, ending up with only 76 boys for every 100 girls who entered college.

Table 2. Female-to-Male Ratio, Philippines, 2010 (World Economic Forum, 2011)


Decision-Making in Government

Labor force


In parliament 


Wage equality for similar work


In ministerial positions


Legislators, senior officials, managers


Years with female head of state (last 50 years)


Professional and technical workers





Consequently, there were more females than males who held executive positions in the labor market in 2010, or 121 women for every 100 men. Similarly, decision-making in both public and private sectors combined was dominated by 121 females for every 100 males. However, fewer women decided to join the labor market, for reasons that may possibly range from full-time childrearing to housekeeping . There were only 63 females for every 100 males who applied for work in 2010. Moreover, only 76 women for every 100 men are fairly compensated for their services.

Government has been, like the past many years in our country, largely dominated by men. There were only 25 females for every 100 males in parliament, and only 16 women for every 100 men who got appointed to ministerial positions. For the past 50 years, only 4.6 years were held by a female president for every 10 years held by a male.

Although females are found to be more consistent and sustained than males in educational preparations, women are still constrained to fully participate in the labor force and thereby maximize the use of skills and knowledge developed in school. Worse, they are still discriminated upon in terms of compensation for their services simply because they are female. Although the Philippine population is equally composed of both sexes, women are not yet given the full opportunity available to men in terms of entry to the labor market and decision-making in government which affect the lives of the entire population. As such, it is a remote possibility that legislations and executive decisions will be sensitive to the needs and concerns of Filipino women.