Labor participation of women lags due to housework expectations labor management women housework

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WOMEN remain bound by traditional gender roles, limiting their participation in the work force, according to a study published by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

The study’s authors, PIDS Senior Research Fellow Connie Bacuyan-Dacuyuy and Lawrence Dacuycuy, noted that women in the Philippines are still expected to do most of the housework, limiting their economic opportunities.

They said this state of affairs is based on deep-seated Filipino values that “women nurture and their comparative advantages are in housework,” while “men provide and their place is in the labor market.” These views result in “de facto discrimination in the formal labor market,” PIDS said in a statement.

The study also found a relationship between wages and time allocated to housework. In the Philippines, data from a survey showed that the higher the wages, the more costly housework becomes for males. The female partner, in response, decreases her time for nonmarket work as well.

However, when the female respondents’ wage increases, their partners’ time devoted to housework also increases.

The statement added that while recent evidence shows that women are robustly employed in the services sector, particularly in the banking, finance, and insurance and business services subsectors, labor market discrimination against women is still evident.

With women comprising about 50% of the population, the authors said government needs to find ways to support women’s participation in economically productive endeavors.

The authors proposed that government prioritize micro, small, and medium enterprises and widen access to credit and promote technical skills.

To increase the time spouses spend together with their families especially at home, the government should also look into improving transportation. This includes fixing roads and expanding mass transport.

“Doing housework together enhances marital relations through shared experiences. This also provides an avenue for spouses to understand each other’s attitudes, values, and preferences, which are valuable information in a repeated game such as marriage,” the authors said.

They also proposed the provision of affordable daycare and tutorial services so that children may get good supplementary care while their parents are at work.

Meanwhile, recent proposals such as the four-day work week and the proposed tax reform package are expected to benefit households, especially those where both spouses are working.

Workers in the informal sector, who are seldom covered by labor market regulations, should also be prioritized and given more protection, the authors recommended.