MANILA - Government must focus on empowering women, improve their economic standing and promote better reproductive health to bridge the gender gap, a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) official said Friday, International Women's Day.
Dr. Vicente Jurlano, UNFPA's national program officer for Population and Development, said the Philippines has "practically closed" the gender gap in education but has yet to bridge the gap in economy and health.
The Philippines ranked 8th in the 2018 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report and was the only Asian country in the top 10.
"If the women are only to be tapped, they can also provide game-changing approaches and even innovative solutions to problems of society. They can be very effective contributors to development," he told ANC.
"The only thing is that because of [the] patriarchal nature of our society, we are not able to provide enough opportunities for women for them to compete with men. The government should look at industry leaders to see if there is going to be a closing of the gap in terms of providing opportunities equally for both men and women."
In line with this, the UNFPA has coordinated with the government for a program that aims to empower women in the workplace, Jurlano said.
Jurlano said the program will also benefit the youth.
"How we invest in them will spell the difference whether they will become better contributors of the economic life of the country," he said.