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Gov’t support for more women's economic activities pushed

The government should find out ways of supporting women’s participation in economically productive activities, particularly in running businesses, to increase opportunities for them, according to a study published by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

The study found that women in the Philippines still do most of the housework, resulting in minimal economic opportunities for them, despite being more empowered than women in other Asian countries.

The authors, PIDS Senior Research Fellow Connie Bacuyan-Dacuyuy and Lawrence Dacuycuy, attributed this to deep-seated Filipino values that “women nurture and their comparative advantages are in housework," while “men provide and their place is in the labor market."

These put women in a relatively disadvantaged position, forcing them to face discrimination in the formal labor market.

With these, they underscored the need to support women’s participation in productive ventures, as they comprise 50 percent of the country’s population and “have an equal role to play in steering the country toward sustainable growth.”

The study cited data from the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association (2017) indicating that 30 percent more females than males are currently engaged in running an enterprise.

The authors said the government should thus address issues on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), such as access to credit and technical skills, and sustaining and upscaling of enterprises.

“It should also provide infrastructure support such as farm-to-market roads and fast and affordable access to information technology to aid their visibility in the local and global markets,” they added.

Apart from expanding economic opportunities for women, the government should address issues that severely increase the time outside of home and reduce family members’ interaction.

These also include poor road conditions, such as potholes, floods resulting from poor drainage system, ill-planned constructions of buildings, and parked vehicles on thoroughfares and Mabuhay lanes, that lead to congestion.

Likewise, it needs to resolve the reliability of mass transport system and issues on building the common station for Manila Metro Rail Transit Lines 3 and 7 and Manila Light Rail Transit Line 1, the study added.