The Philippines remains one of the top performing countries in the world and the best performer in Asia and the Pacific in terms of closing the gender gap.
After assessing 142 economies, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked the Philippines ninth, noting that the country maintained its top ranking in education and health. But the country’s ranking fell in two indicators — economic participation and opportunity and political empowerment.
Last year, the Philippines took the fifth slot of best performing countries when it comes to gender equality.
The WEF’s Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress.
The 10 most gender-sensitive countries were led by Nordic countries with Iceland landing on top, followed by Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, which climbed from eighth place last year to fifth this year. Nicaragua climbed four places to sixth, Rwanda entered the index for the first time at seventh, Ireland falling to eighth, the Philippines declining four places to ninth and Belgium climbing one place to 10th.
Despite its slide in the global rating, the Philippines is the only country from the Asia and the Pacific region that was in the top 10 best performing countries on the overall index.
“It is the only country from the region that has closed both the educational attainment and health and survival gender gaps,” the report said.
In the region, two other countries were in the top 30 list—New Zealand (13) and Australia (24).
The Philippines is also in the Top 10 on the wage equality for similar work and legislators, senior officials and managers indicators.
“The country was led by a female head of state for 16 of the last 50 years. Since 2008, it has seen an improvement in its overall score–except in 2014, which was due to a decrease in the health and survival and political empowerment sub-index scores,” the WEF report said.
The Philippines was also adjudged the second best performing country in the lower-middle income group.
The country was the second best performing country, after Norway, on the ability of women to rise to positions of enterprise leadership, and the country posted the highest percentage of firms with female participation in ownership, which is at 69 percent.
“Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons. Only those economies [that]have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper. But even more important, gender equality is a matter of justice. As a humanity, we also have the obligation to ensure a balanced set of values,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF.