30 December 2013 | Report

Gender Equality in the Labor Market in the Philippines


The Gender Equality in the Labor Market in the Philippines report from the Asian Development Bank documents the nature and extent of gender inequalities in the Filipino labour market. The report also shares promising initiatives that have been developed to counter gender discrimination and promote equality for working men and women through legislation and social and economic policies to reverse the unequal labour market outcomes for women.

This report is drawn from studies by the Asian Development Bank for on promoting gender equality in Asian labour markets for inclusive growth, implemented in cooperation with the International Labour Office, Bangkok. It comprises a gendered analysis of the Philippines’ labour market, policies, and legislation, and provides recommendations for policies and legislation that have the potential to expand or improve employment and work opportunities for women in specific sectors in the Philippines.

The report provides a summary of findings and recommendations that are specifically relevant for the Philippines from an analysis of gender equality and the labour markets in Cambodia, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines, and two global good practice reviews: one on social and economic policy and the other on legislation.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
    • Major Themes and Challenges
    • Structure of the Report
  • Gendered Employment and Inclusive Growth
    • Review of Key Terms
    • Decent Work and Development in the Philippines
    • Employment Performance
    • Gender Gaps in the Labour Market
    • Gender Gaps in Labour Market Outcomes
    • Gendered Analysis of Labour Markets: Industrial Sectors
    • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
    • Industry
    • Services
    • Entrepreneurship
    • International Migration
    • Pathways to Gender Equality in the Labour Market and Inclusive Growth
  • Review of Policies for Gender Equality in the Labour Market
    • National Development Goals and Macroeconomic Policies
    • National Women’s Ministries or Commissions and Gender Equality Strategies
    • Key Sector Policies
    • Labour Support Policies
    • Review of Legislative Frameworks and Laws for Gender Equality in the Labour Market
  • References


  • Key mechanisms for attaining inclusive growth for women requires expanding employment opportunities and decent work outcomes for women to promote gender equality in labour markets. Economic growth in the Philippines, however, has not translated into sufficient employment growth and the employment growth has not been inclusive for women.
  • Generally speaking, there has been little improvement in gender equality in the labour market, as measured by the share of women in waged employment in the non-agriculture sector. In the Philippines, the estimated proportion of women’s annual earnings to men’s annual earnings stands at less than 60%.
  • However, employment growth alone is not sufficient to judge whether there is inclusive growth, especially in low-income countries where there is significant underemployment and a large informal employment sector. Gender inequality in the labour market is ascertained here by reference to seven gender gaps (or deficits for women):
    • labour force participation,
    • human capital,
    • the unpaid domestic and care work burden,
    • vulnerable employment,
    • wage employment,
    • decent work, and
    • social protection.
  • Despite a variety of gender-responsive legal and policy initiatives, an assessment of the labour market in the Philippines reveals that although some gender gaps have been reduced, women still suffer from persistent gender deficits.
  • Some progress has been made in reducing the gender gap between men and women in the labour force participation rate, which now stands at 29 percentage points. The lower labour force participation rate of women, compared to that of men, represents an underutilisation of women’s labour in the paid labour market which arises from inferior employment and decent work opportunities, human capital differences, and unpaid domestic labour and care constraints.
  • A gender gap in human capital reflects gender segregation in the types of training and education available to women which may constrain their labour force participation. The Philippines has achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education, but there are still qualitative differences due to gendered segregation in the types of training and tertiary education.

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