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Women’s rights as workers under CEDAW in the Philippines

Investing in Women The University of Sydney

2017

The Philippines

Report/Paper

Workplace Gender Equality

Gender equality Workplace Gender Equality Influencing gender norms Labor law Women's rights

Women’s rights as workers under CEDAW in the Philippines

Women’s rights as workers under CEDAW in the Philippines

The Women’s Rights as Workers under CEDAW report analyses the Philippines’ adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women in relation to women’s workplace rights and economic empowerment more broadly in the Philippines.

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the primary international legal instrument that focuses on women’s rights. State parties – which include all Southeast Asian countries – must submit periodic reports on their progress to the CEDAW Committee, which is a panel of independent experts. The Committee evaluates states’ progress in implementing the treaty on the basis of those reports, as well as ‘shadow reports’ provided by NGOs.

CEDAW covers a broad range of concerns from the elimination of discrimination in political life, to equal access to education and healthcare. Gender equality in the workplace is primarily addressed through Article 11, which prohibits discrimination in employment, deals most directly with women and employment. However, several other parts of the Convention also establish rights that are related to women and work generally. Most important among these are:

  • Article 3, which is concerned with the advancement of women in political, social, economic and cultural fields;
  • Article 13, which requires states to ensure non-discrimination in family benefits and loans; and
  • Article 14, which requires states to take into account the particular problems faced by rural women, including their participation in the non-monetised sectors of the economy.

Highlights

The Philippines ratified The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1981, and has submitted six periodic reports to the CEDAW Committee setting out its progress implementing the treaty.

The report finds that the Philippines’ government has been reasonably consistent over time, addressing women’s participation in the labour market generally, and the specific issue of workplace rights and conditions. In recent years it has emphasised the need to protect migrant workers. The Philippines government has also raised a variety of concerns related to women and including domestic workers, sexual harassment in the workplace and the employment of women in government.

A striking pattern is evident in the Philippines responses to CEDAW articles, namely their focus on the importance of female entrepreneurship. The Philippines government has emphasised the importance of providing credit to women involved in the agricultural sector as well as to women running small business. However, it is also interesting to note that the Philippines government has not raised the issue of ‘economic empowerment’ in any of its reports, whereas other countries have often emphasised this issue in conjunction with female entrepreneurship.

Contents

  • Women as workers in The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • Women and work in the Philippine reports
  • Themes in the Philippines’ reports to The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
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