Issue of April 7, 2019
Mt. Province

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Women’s unpaid work in PH worth trillions of pesos – PIDS
by PIDS release

The value of women’s unpaid work in the Philippines is worth trillions, according to a senior research fellow of the country’s premier think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

In a recent public seminar on gender and development organized by PIDS, Senior Research Fellow Michael Abrigo said the monetary value of women’s time spent on childcare, eldercare, and house chores like cleaning, cooking, and washing makes up 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“We want to bring home the message that there’s value on housework, na hindi ibig sabihin nito na porke’t nasa bahay sila ay walang value ‘yung oras nila. We want to convert these time units into monetary units,” Abrigo explained.

Abrigo said he and his coauthor used the National Transfer Account (NTA) and the National Time Transfer Account (NTTA) to measure the worth of unpaid work. The NTA captures the productive activities within the production boundaries of the GDP while the NTTA estimates the time spent on unpaid work.

Citing data in 2015, he said paid work of both sexes was valued at P9.3 trillion while their unpaid work totaled P2.5T. Women’s contributions on these were at 40 percent and 76 percent, respectively.

While Filipino women are encouraged to join the labor force, there are factors to be considered, Abrigo noted.

“If we want mothers to work outside the home, dapat may kapalit siya na magtatrabaho sa loob ng bahay. Halimbawa, may mga anak at working siya, sino ang mag-aalaga sa mga bata? Pwedeng si tatay o kumuha ng katulong pero kapag kumuha tayo ng kasambahay, meron din siyang pamilyang iiwanan, at kapag nangyari ito, sino naman ang mag-aalaga sa pamilya niya? So, this creates a vicious cycle,” he said.

Abrigo added that based on the regression analyses done by his team, mothers who spent more time working outside their homes are more likely to have children who are not attending school, or are lagging behind their peers. Other studies also show that families of working mothers who spend less time at home tend to eat more outside, or are less healthier.

He said these are some of the reasons that hold back women from joining the labor force.

“In the Philippines, women are better educated than men. But if you look at the labor force distribution on paid work, women only comprised less than 50 percent of the workforce,” he explained. A way to resolve this issue, he proposed, is to encourage men to help their spouses do household chores.

Para masagot natin yung tanong kung papaano natin maeengganyo ang mga babae na magtrabaho sa labas ng bahay, dapat masagot muna natin ang tanong kung paano makakatulong ang mga lalaki sa gawaing bahay.  This way, mabibigyan natin ng oras ang babae para naman makatulong sa income ng pamilya,” Abrigo said.

As of 2015, only two percent of men from single family households are at home doing the chores of mothers and their spouses.

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