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Enhanced higher education subsidies aimed at reducing gender gap in employment

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

On the commencement of Women’s Month, a House leader emphasized the importance of maintaining and enhancing higher education subsidies for college students to address the gender gap in employment. Referring to statistics from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Bohol 3rd District Rep. Kristine Alexie Tutor pointed out that the wage disparity is least among women who hold college degrees, at 12 percent, and for those with college education, at 23 percent. Tutor advocated for the continuation of programs such as the Tertiary Education Subsidy, Unified Student Financial Assistance System (UniFAST), and free college education in state universities and colleges as essential measures to narrow gender gaps.

These higher education subsidies can keep more female college students in school to improve their employability and benefit households that are low-income, near-poor, and lower-middle-income,” the House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation chairperson said in a statement.

She also pointed out that the hiring gap in the construction sector can be narrowed for women by increasing the number of positions available to them, particularly in technical, administrative, and support roles where physical strength should be “much less of a factor.”

She said the Department of Labor and Employment – Bureau of Working Conditions should look into how gender biases in the hiring and retention practices in the construction sector can be minimized.

“Workplaces in the construction sector should be safe spaces for women, as well as for the LGBTQIA+, to encourage gender diversity,” she said.

She also suggested that the Professional Regulation Commission and the different regulatory boards should spend the bulk of Gender and Development (GAD) funds on improving the numbers of women in every profession.

“There remains much room for improvement in the numbers of women among civil engineers, electrical engineers, electronics engineers, master electricians, master plumbers, industrial engineers, sanitary engineers, and electronics technicians,” she said.

For the Commission on Higher Education and the state universities and colleges, she recommended spending their GAD funds on how to incentivize and encourage more women to enroll in engineering, legal education, public administration, and science programs. (PNA)

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