Empowering women and narrowing down the gender gap are still pressing issues in this time of global changes in the world of work. There is, in fact, increasing demand for the presence of women in the labor force. And the DOLE is on the right track in addressing these issues because compliance of establishments on women-related benefits stands high.
“Providing women with equal economic opportunities and unleashing their potential are essential driving forces of economic growth. We acknowledge the many benefits that can be derived when women are in the work force, such as greater equality and gender balance, increased household incomes, and enhanced financial stability of families,” Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said last Friday during the DOLE’s kick-off celebration of Women’s Month, held at the Labor Governance Learning Center of the Blas F. Ople Hall in Intramuros, Manila.
Baldoz said government agencies, such as the DOLE, take their part seriously in the campaign to eliminate discrimination against women as provided for in R.A. No. 9710, or the Magna Carta of Women. The law provides for recognition, protection, fulfilment, and promotion of the rights of Filipino women, especially those belonging to society’s marginalized sectors.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reports that two in five, or 40 percent, of wage and salary workers are women.
“Of the approximately 8.3 million working women in the country, 78 percent work full time,” said Baldoz.
She said the DOLE is going full steam ahead in the implementation of the Labor Laws Compliance System, its enforcement mechanism geared at promoting voluntary compliance with labor laws and regulations among establishments across industries and geographical locations.
“The DOLE actively promotes the welfare of women in the work force by ensuring that their benefits, as mandated by law and through the LLCS, are properly provided them. In fact, among the compliance indicators our LLCOs verify when they conduct assessments of establishments are compliance with women-related benefits. These benefits include maternity leave, leave for victims of violence against women and children (VAWC), and special leave for women with gynecological disorders. We also check their compliance with the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act, specifically on the provision of lactation stations and lactation breaks for breastfeeding women,” Baldoz explained.
Since the start of the LLCS, the DOLE has covered over 100,000 establishments employing 1,805,683 workers, 635,408, or 35.2 percent, of whom are women. High compliance rates have been shown for women-related benefits: maternity leave (99 percent), VAWC leave (97.88 percent), special leave for women (97.94 percent), and lactation stations (97.69 percent).
Secretary Baldoz said the DOLE is deeply committed in ensuring that all workers, women and men, enjoy their rightful benefits.
But as to women, she said: “As we intensify our LLCS activities, we will make sure that the welfare of our women workers is adequately protected. We will continue to perform our role in encouraging not only their participation in the workforce, but also in ensuring that they become empowered participants in the workplace.”