RP manages to close gender gap in education, health
By Minerva BC Newman
Cebu, Philippines (22 March) -- The Philippines manages to close the gender gap in education and health despite being a Third World country through its implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her speech at the International Women's Day celebration in Malacanang on March 7 revealed that because of the country's comprehensive and thorough implementation of the UN-program for women empowerment, the country was invited to the World Economic Forum (WEF) and was recognized as the only country in Asia that landed at the top six in Gender Parity worldwide.
Arroyo said, the country is on track in its implementation of women's programs that uphold their rights and these are part of the national development plan for gender equality which is included in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004-2010.
The UN cited the Philippines as the only Asian country that has managed to close the gender gap in education and health, the President said.
According to the country's Millennium Development Goals (MDG) assessment, the Philippines is ahead in gender equality in education specifically in the literacy and enrolment rates in the primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Arroyo cited some data and information that said women are ahead of men in terms of simple literacy rate as well as in functional literacy rate.
Net enrolment rate of women are also higher than men because the participation rate of women in school are excellent while more men dropped out of school than women.
In scholastic achievement, it was also noted that women have higher achievement rate than men because there are more women graduate with honors than men.
The President is optimistic that the country can achieve in UN-MDGs of upholding gender equality by the end of 2015.
She cited the adoption of important laws for women and the allocation of 5% of the budget for gender and development (GAD) programs.
In 2004, President Arroyo signed into law R.A. #9262, "An Act Defining Violence against Women and their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims and Prescribing Penalties therefore."
In terms of health, most recent surveys indicate that maternal mortality ratio in the country has declined however the President said this is not enough. There are still plenty of things to do to continue working to sustain the downtrend of maternal mortality.
The country specifically addresses health services to pregnant women for safe delivery and responsible parenthood through natural family planning.
For safe motherhood, the Department of Health (DOH) has improved and promoted facility-based delivery instead of home-based which is the cause of many maternal deaths.
The public health sector also promoted exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first 6 months to protect babies from all sorts of infant diseases and deaths.
The Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) on the other hand has included pregnancy and hospital delivery in its health insurance services.
The national government has also assisted the various local government units in the country to upgrade their primary hospitals into secondary hospitals.
This means these hospitals are now equipped with gynecological, obstetric and surgical services to encourage more women to give birth in hospitals and not in their homes.
"We are one of the countries in the world that allocated funds for women's programs," the President concluded. (PIA-Cebu) [top]