“CLOSE the gender gap completely.”
This was the emphatic call made by participants of Thursday’s Women’s Forum at St. Theresa’s College with the theme “We Make Change Work for Women” held in line with the celebration of International Women’s Day.
It gathered more than 50 participants including students, professionals from various fields, and women’s rights advocates in Cebu.
In a statement, the Board Members of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) said the theme will be used from 2017 to 2022 as their means to highlight “the empowerment of women as active contributors to and claim holders of development.”
The event, which was also spearheaded by the PCW, was an avenue in urging Cebuanos, regardless of gender and age, to help in completely closing the gender gap between men and women through various means.
Gender gap is an index used to measure gender equality in the areas of politics, health, economic, and education in a particular country.
Lawyer Hazel Helmuth–Vega, one of the event’s speakers, said that spreading awareness on the Magna Carta for Women will address the gender gap in the country, which stands at 21 percent.
“The Philippines may have advanced in terms of achieving gender equality but there is still a gaping 21 percent disparity. We have to aim on closing it completely. That’s why it is high time for women to discuss the Magna Carta which seeks to address this disparity,” said Vega.
She added that women who are informed of their rights, which are enumerated in the Magna Carta, will not only become empowered but also help those in the marginalized sectors, especially victims of gender-based violence.
During her presentation, Vega revealed that the Philippines’ ranking in terms of eliminating gender gap based on the Global Gender Gap Report of the
World Economic Forum, slid down from seventh in 2016 to 10th in 2017.
This prompted Vega to encourage all stakeholders in Cebu to work harder to claim the number one spot, which is currently occupied by Iceland.
“At 79 percent, there’s not much disparity in our country. We’re the only Asian country that made it to the Top 10 but still, wage opportunities between men and women are still not equal. Men still have higher wages. On the other hand, Filipino women are relatively poor when it comes to health and survival,” explained Vega.