In the Philippines, women have an advantage over men in terms of income, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
In his online column, "Statistically Speaking," NSCB Secretary General Romulo Virola wrote that Filipino women outperformed men in terms of income based on the Gender Equality Ratio (GER) of 1.2299 in 2003 from 1.1170 in 2000.
GER measures equality between men and women in all three dimensions of development: income, education, and health. A GER greater than one signifies an advantage of women over men.
"Possibly, [this is] one of the reasons why this year's Women's Month theme is 'Babae, Yaman ka ng Bayan (Woman, you are the wealth of the nation)?'" Virola said.
The study said women also have higher achievements in terms of education (1.0583) and health (1.0248), giving them a relative advantage over men in all three dimensions of development.
NSCB issued the report in time for the observance of the 2009 Women’s Month in March, an event that will be spearheaded by the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women.
This year's theme is centered on the critical role of women in nation building, recognizing them as important resources who can contribute to poverty reduction, Virola said.
72 out of 79 provinces
As of 2003, the study said women have an advantage over men in terms of development in 72 out of 79 provinces in the country, with the highest GER at Zamboanga del Norte (2.1735).
This was followed by Biliran (2.0644), Surigao del Sur (1.8111), Apayao (1.7066), and Abra (1.694).
On the other hand, men outperformed women in seven provinces, with the biggest margin recorded in Maguindanao (0.0206), followed by Siquijor (0.0222), Basilan (0.3935), Sulu (0.8491), and Benguet (0.9202).
"Given all these gender statistics showing that men are being left behind, however, the question is – what do we now want? Do we want women to gain even bigger advantage over men in terms of human development? Or is it time for men to seek an honest-to-goodness gender equality?" said Candido Astrologo Jr., director of the National Statistical Information Center.
Meanwhile, President Arroyo is expected to sign the Magna Carta of Women into law next month, just in time for the celebration of the Women's Month and the International Women's Day.