The plight of Filipino women workers worsened under Aquino more than one hundred years after the first International Women’s Day was celebrated, said research group IBON.
According to the group, the government refuses to significantly raise wages and instead promotes neoliberal policies such as labor flexibilization and contractualization. This has only created further job insecurity and poor quality work and intensified the exploitation that women workers in the country face today.
IBON found that the wage gap between men and women remained the same and even worsened under Aquino. Women working in agriculture made 13% less (Php135.85) than their male counterparts (Php156.32) in 2010 but this wage gap barely decreased to 12% (Php166.92 versus Php190.47, respectively) in 2014 . Worse, however, is the wage gap between women and men employed in manufacturing which went up from 7.3% (Php296.36 versus Php319.75) in 2010 to 11% (Php323.34 versus Php363.45) in 2014.
The group observed that women working in the informal sector increased from 41.9% in 2010 to 43.6% of the total number of unpaid family and self-employed workers in 2014. The percentage of unpaid women family workers rose from 55.8% of total unpaid family workers in 2010 to 57.0% in 2014. The portion of self-employed women also went up from 36.6% to 38.4% within the same period.
IBON also noted that the number of working children increased from 2.1 million in 2010 to 2.2 million 2014. Girls comprised 37% of working children in 2014 with the majority working in agriculture.
It has been more than a century since International Working Women’s Day was established as women workers were fighting against oppression and inequality, demanded better pay, shorter working hours and voting rights.
Today, Filipino women are still struggling for better pay and working conditions and a better future for the nation and their children.