ASEAN lauds RP for closing gender gap

January 28, 2008, MANILA - The Philippine government has received commendation from the member-states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the country's success in closing the gender gap and by promoting human development opportunities.

In the 1st High-Level Meeting on Good Practices in Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Vientiane, Laos from January 14-15, 2008, Salma Khan, Bangladesh Ambassador to Indonesia and former Chairperson of United Nations CEDAW Committee, hailed the Philippine government for its initiatives to progressively work towards the attainment of equality between women and men.

Khan's commendation came after the Philippines successfully maintained its 6th rank in the Global Gender Gap Index conducted by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum.

The Bangladesh Ambassador likewise noted that among the top 10 ASEAN member-states, it is only the Philippines that is included among the top 10 countries in the Gender Gap Reduction Index.

"The Philippines is maintaining its rank way above most developed countries since first survey was undertaken in 2005. The report measures the discrepancies between men and women based on four categories somewhat similar to those used in human development index; for example (a) educational attainment; (b) economic participation and opportunity; (c) political empowerment; and (d) health and survival," Khan said during the consultation meeting in Laos.

Khan, however, noted the wide disparity in reduction of gender gap in other ASEAN countries.

The Global Gender Gap Index examines the gap between women and men in four fundamental categories such as economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival.

The said report likewise highlighted that Philippines' scores on political empowerment improved further including its economic indicators such as estimated income, labor force participation and income equality for similar work.

The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) Chairperson Myrna T. Yao said the Philippines is deeply honored by the recognition of the other ASEAN leaders and vowed to continue the Philippine government's efforts to boost gender equality and women's empowerment in the country.

"This is the second year that the Philippines has ranked 6th in the Global Gender Gap Index which covered 128 countries. The Philippines has made significant progress in closing the gender gap through its gender Mainstreaming strategy which started in 1987. Gender mainstreaming is a systematic approach to integrate the concerns and needs of women and men in the plans, policies, structures, processes, programs and projects of government agencies," Chairperson Yao explained.

Chairperson Yao noted that as a strategy, gender mainstreaming is an indispensable tool to advance gender equality and reduce poverty in the country.

"Gender equality is an integral factor for the future generation. Its importance is even spelled out in theMillennium Development Goals that serve as a framework to reduce hunger and poverty. The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women will continue with its efforts to close the disparity in gender in the Philippines," she added.

During the ASEAN High-Level Meeting on Good Practices in CEDAW, member-states of ASEAN recognized the steady progress achieved in ASEAN-member countries in the enhancement of the role and contributions of ASEAN women and in mainstreaming gender into policies, plans, programmes and budgets.

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