The Philippines for the first time dropped out of the top 10 countries that are most gender-equal, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).
WEF said in its Global Gender Gap 2020 report that the slide in its ranking was due to the fewer number of women in key government positions.
WEF said the Philippines fell eight spots to rank 16th out of 153 countries from the eighth spot out of 149 countries last year.
“This downgrade is almost entirely attributable to lower female representation in the Cabinet, which declined from 25 percent to 10 percent between 2017 and 2019,” it said.
“The Philippines has closed 78 percent of its overall gender gap. Once a member of the top 10 on the Global Gender Gap Index, the country now ranks 16th as a result of a small decline in its score,” it added.
The country’s lowest rank was when it settled at 10th in 2017, while its highest was attained in 2015 when it finished at the fifth rank.
Overall, the Philippines scored 0.781, the second best in East Asia and the Pacific, following New Zealand with the highest score.
Globally, Iceland remained the world’s most gender-equal country, followed by Norway, Finland, Sweden, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Rwanda and Germany.
Despite the drop in this year’s ranking, WEF said the Philippines’ performance remained strong across three of four dimensions of the index, namely economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
The Philippines closed 80 percent of the economic participation and opportunity gender gap, with women outnumbering men in senior and leadership roles, as well as in professional and technical professions, which only one of four countries achieve. WEF said the country has also closed both its educational attainment and health and survival gender gaps.
Women in the Philippines could also expect to live in good health five years longer than men, while a significantly larger share of women is also enrolled in secondary education and tertiary education compared with men.
“Female representation in the parliament was also slightly down and stood at 28 percent at the beginning of 2019,” WEF said.
The Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced by the WEF in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress over time. It benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, education, health and political criteria.