2.3 million Filipino women render unpaid work, prone to abuse – think tank

Despite current notions of female empowerment in workplaces, Filipino women workers still suffer from lower wages and lower quality jobs than their male counterparts, according to labor think-tank Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER).

EILER said that based on the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics’ 2011 Gender Statistics on Labor and Employment, women bear the brunt of the highly backward domestic economy as they are concentrated on volatile and informal jobs with low or no wages at all.

“For instance, there are 2.3 million Filipino women who render unpaid labor especially in the countryside, being classified as part of the ‘unpaid family workers’. This segment of female workforce is mired in rock-bottom poverty and is highly prone to exploitation and abuse,” said EILER executive director Anna Leah Escresa.

“Since they have no pre-determined scope of work, unpaid female family workers also experience long hours of strenuous work that poses serious risks to their health and reproductive well-being,” she added.

Escresa also pointed out that there are 1.63 million Filipino women working in private households, normally as helpers, who suffer measly wages and unsecure employment terms.

“On an average, females working in private households earn only P123.20 per day, or merely P3,203 a month. Such wage rate is obviously inhumane amid skyrocketing prices of oil and basic commodities,’ Escresa said.

The labor NGO said that even in the manufacturing sector, women are still in a disadvantaged position as they earn an average wage that is 7.3 percent lower than men’s wage in the sector. Female factory workers earn on an average P296.36 daily, lower than men’s daily rate of P319.75, though both wage levels are still below the highest mandated minimum wage of P426.

“Wage inequality is sharpest in the hotels and restaurants subsector, wherein women workers earn wages that are 77.80 percent lower than their male counterparts,” Escresa noted.

EILER emphasized that the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan (PLEP) 2011-2016 of the Aquino administration will not address the grim state of Filipino workers as the policy merely hinges on employment facilitation rather than creation of new and decent jobs.

“Ironically President Benigno Aquino III chose to fancy different women while ironically overlooking the current grim conditions of Filipino women workers,” Escresa said.

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