Valuing and Investing in Unpaid Care and Domestic Work
Country Case Study : Philippines
The Philippines ranks 17th in the world in terms of reducing its gender gap on various economic, political and social measures (WEF, 2021).
It is the only country in Asia to make it into the top 20 of that ranking. What makes this performance more impressive is the fact that the Philippines is classified as a lower-middle-income country.
Despite constraints on fiscal resources and developmental challenges, the
Philippines has managed to close its gender gaps in educational attainment, health and survival as well as women’s representation in senior managerial, professional and technical roles.
This progress, however, is undercut by the female labour force participation rate, which stands at 47.6 per cent, compared with 74.8 per cent for men (ASEAN Secretariat, 2020b). The demands of unpaid care work and home production account for more
of women’s time – constraining their participation in the paid market economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further intensified the unpaid care and domestic
work responsibilities of women, caused by the school closures, mobility restrictions and difficulties in food and water provisioning.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) initially commissioned research to assess the impact of the pandemic on the
unpaid care economy in countries across Asia and the Pacific. Next, it spotlighted the role and value of women’s unpaid care and domestic work among Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
This case study on the Philippines documents the country’s progress in addressing women’s unpaid care and domestic work within the larger legislative,
institutional and political economy context.
Most importantly, this case study tracks the evolution of the unpaid care and domestic work agenda within national policies and the actions of women’s machineries, such as the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).
The aim is to strengthen the case for recognizing, valuing and redistributing unpaid care work in a manner that can enable women to participate in the public life of the nation on more favorable terms.