Philippines is most gender-equal country in Asia – report

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 18) — The Philippines remains the top Asian country with the narrowest gap between men and women, according to a global report released Tuesday.

The World Economic Forum (WEF)'s Global Gender Gap Report for 2018 also ranked the Philippines eighth among 149 countries in achieving gender equality. It said the country got its record-high score of 0.799, which means it has closed almost 80 percent of its overall gender gap.

The country also improved two notches from being on the 10th spot in 2017.

The report listed the Philippines among the five countries that have achieved full parity in political and economic leadership – with women legislators, senior officials and managers. Other countries with the same achievement are Laos, Bahamas, Colombia, and Jamaica.

The Philippines' gender gap in the educational attainment pillar remains closed, like last year. This means the literacy rate and enrolment in schools are almost the same for men and women.

Meanwhile, the report noted that the Philippines managed to narrow its Economic Participation and Opportunity gender gap "due to increases in wage equality for similar work and women's estimated earned income," the report noted.

Based on the WEF's annual Executive Opinion Survey,the Philippines closed 79 percent of the gap on wage equality this year, from 75 percent in 2017.

The Philippines, however, got the lowest score of 0.416 in the area of political empowerment, which means it has yet to close almost 60 percent of the gap, and it is not alone.

"Political Empowerment is where the gender gap remains the widest (globally): only 23% of the political gap – unchanged since last year – has been closed, and no country has yet fully closed political empowerment gaps," the report said. This indicator measures the gap between men and women at the highest level of political decision-making, either as head of state or in key parliamentary and ministerial positions.

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly said he prefers to appoint men in government, saying they can get his many orders done.

Globally, a lot more needs to be done. "Today, the Global Gender Gap score stands at 68 percent. This means that, on average, there is still a 32 percent gap to close," the report said.