Press Release
September 12, 2012

Legarda Alarmed Over High Rate of Unemployed Women; Urges DOLE and Philippine Commission on Women to Take Action

Senator Loren Legarda expressed alarm over the high rate of unemployment among women in the country, and called for more gender-responsive development priorities that should be reflected in the 2013 budget.

"We must begin to evaluate the budget in a new light, taking into consideration our changing social landscape. According to statistics from an SWS survey last May, the percentage of unemployed women is 36.4% or 6.5 million, which is significantly higher than the percentage of unemployed men at 18.9% or 4.4 million. Taking into account the abilities unique among genders, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Commission on Women should begin addressing this situation especially now that we are planning next year's budget," she explained.

Legarda stated that there are two strategies that the government should strongly explore. The first is greater support for industries that women frequent, such as textiles, crafts, farming, and food-processing and helping women start their own businesses and cooperatives. The second is appropriate training that will build women's opportunities in entering economic sectors such as telecommunications, tourism, leisure services, and traditionally male-dominated jobs. "Women are a valuable yet vulnerable sector, and this alarming rate of unemployment is one of the key factors that fuels migration. Hundreds of thousands of Filipino women seek jobs abroad every year, and are then often subjected to exploitation. Away from loved ones and the government's assistance, their yearning for better lives unfairly pushes them deeper into harm," she remarked.

"We are at a crucial juncture in our growth as a nation, and we must consistently scrutinize our opportunities for progress, ensuring that development is equitable and gender-responsive," Legarda concluded.

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