March signifies a celebration of equality and empowerment for women all over the world as we celebrate, International Women’s Month. This celebration highlights not only the accomplishments of women, but also gives importance to gender equality and raising the concerns that women face in society, at home, and even in the workplace.
In the Philippines, International Women’s Month serves as an avenue for every Filipina to raise their voice and fight for progress in the women’s sector. Thus, for 2023, the theme of International Women’s Month highlights empowering women and providing equal opportunities regardless of their gender.
This crucial stance for gender equality stems from decades of discrimination and abuse against women occurring in daily life. Even with headway changes and remarkable female figures that continue to fight against these problems in our society, women still face gender-related discrimination, and prejudices, especially in workplaces.
Today, women still suffer from small and big issues of discrimination and gender-based crimes across the country. And while Filipinas have opportunities and achievements within a wide range of workplaces and industries, there are still challenges and roadblocks that must be overcome for women to show their full capabilities and potential in their chosen fields.
Certain social expectations for women are the very reason why equal opportunities aren’t present in most workplaces in the Philippines and around the globe. While there are more stories of women breadwinners, of successful women entrepreneurs and athletes, with these accomplishments, there are still doubts about whether such roles and tasks are within a woman’s capabilities.
Thus, AKAP is here to list down some common challenges and struggles that women face within the workplace that needed to be stopped and be aware of so that equality can be achieved within the workplace in the Philippines.
Women are paid less than men in certain industries
According to an article by evident.ph, there are cases in that male employees earn Php 5,000 more than their female counterparts for the same job. This gender pay gap is an ongoing issue that limits the opportunities that women have in the working industry more than males.
On the same issue in the workplace, gender-based discrimination such as in job hiring, there are cases where women are not hired for the job because of their gender despite having the qualifying skills and credentials for the role.
Even in a corporate setting, businesswomen are faced with challenges to secure better access to funding for their businesses with the majority of their fellow entrepreneurs being male. This is why female entrepreneurs venture into businesses and organizations that are inclusive and supportive of their branding.
Women must “prove” themselves to deserve higher positions in workplaces
While the Philippines ranks relatively high on the Global Gender Gap Report, there are fewer women in higher positions in both the private and public sectors.
Much of society’s expectations and perspectives of women in higher positions as well cause a roadblock for women in having to “prove” that they are credible and trusted by their co-workers and society to hold such executive positions. As such, women that hold high government positions are few but they are significantly honored as women leaders seen locally and even worldwide.
This is further strengthened because of the belief that men are more trustworthy in leadership roles, even when their female counterparts uphold the same credentials and skillset for leadership roles.
While some workplaces are adapting to providing equal opportunities for all gender identities, there are still perspectives and opinions that must change so that more women can feel empowered in their chosen careers.
Women face higher work expectations and criticism of their career path
The fear of failing in their chosen career builds up more pressure on women than men. Aside from beating social expectations, women that take up career paths that are considered difficult build higher expectations to succeed but also endanger their own physical and mental health for their career.
Examples of these are female athletes that are given minimal support than males for their training and entry to major competitions. The belief that women are more suited for nurturing and less strenuous roles limits them to either give more effort in their line of work to be acknowledged by society or choose a different career that’s stable and with less judgment by their family and peers.
Because of these limitations, women are underrepresented in many industries, and even lessen opportunities in certain careers than men. While there are possibilities for women to excel in numerous jobs and tasks, workplaces, most especially the government must provide better support for the women’s sector to achieve greater feats in the labor sector.
A woman’s physical appearance weighs more than their skills in certain workplaces
One of the crucial aspects of empowering women is to accept women for their natural beauty. However, there are still instances where a woman’s physical appearance, body shape, skin, and even age define if they are fit to work in a certain career or workplace.
This high regard for a woman’s physical appearance creates a gap between the acceptance of a woman’s natural beauty and flaws against the standards of society when it comes to beauty.
An example of this is how beauty is defined in the limelight for celebrities and social media influencers, to how younger women view what beauty is. Darker-skinned women face harsher judgment for their skin color compared to fairer-skinned women. Thus younger Filipinas resort to trying skin-lightening products or rely on heavy make-up to appear more presentable in front of the public eye and even in workplaces.
Offhand remarks even on a woman’s physical appearance by the family are also a major factor as to why women don’t pursue certain jobs or careers because of their lack of the physical requirements for the job.
As these are but a few examples of the struggles and challenges that women faced in the labor field each day. There are still hardships that women face at home and around the globe. Which is why embracing change, no matter how big or small is the first step to creating a better environment for everyone.
This Women’s Month, AKAP honors the impact of womanhood on the Philippines, and how the Filipinas always unfold a new journey that can be an inspiration and open new doors for the next generation of women to follow. So let’s continue to uncover incredible stories of every Filipina that lives their life to the fullest while making a living doing the career they love.