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LinkedIn study finds gender bias continues to exist in PH workplace

Even if the Philippines ranks high in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, the latest LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2021 finds women in the Philippines are hit the hardest by the pandemic in terms of employment and career advancement opportunities.

According to the study, 22% of female professionals agree that they have fewer career advancement opportunities, and 14% claim they are paid less than men in their profession.

However, the LinkedIn study also saw that 51% of Filipinos say that gender equality has improved compared to their parents’ time.

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LinkedIn Opportunity Index measures respondents’ perception of the opportunities that are available to them in their country vis-a-vis the barriers that might stand in their way. A higher score represents greater optimism from respondents living in a specific market.

Working mothers felt the most impact on the new remote work setup. The report said close to 5 in 10 (47%) working mothers struggle to balance work and household responsibilities. Now, the roles of working mothers have become indistinguishable. About 42% say their duties at home are getting in the way of their career development.

“The Philippine workforce has taken a hit due to COVID-19 across the board, women included,” said Feon Ang, VP, Talent and Learning Solutions, APAC, LinkedIn. The lack of time is the top barrier for women today likely due to having to juggle remote working and family responsibilities. We also know that women are seeking to get ahead in life, and want equal access to opportunity as men. As a society, we need to start changing our societal perceptions of gender. In our organizations, too, we need to level the playing field for women. When we succeed, the economy and our organizations succeed as well.”

But as if it is an innate quality for women in the Philippines, working hard in spite of all the obstacles (88%) remains a goal for them. They hope, though, that they are provided equal access to opportunities as men (85%). The study reveals half of working women in the Philippines have experienced that their gender played a role in missing out on opportunities, promotion, and pay.

“Our research suggests that this mindset may stem from broader societal perceptions around gender,” LinkedIn said. “While 74% think that gender equality is an important value for a fair society, more than half of the respondents believe that it has already come far enough and has been achieved to a satisfactory degree. Furthermore, 31% think that gender equality is impossible to achieve. This potentially shows that Filipinos feel not much more can or should be done to further gender equality.”

The study further shows that only 26% of working professionals in the Philippines strongly agree that gender diversity is a priority in their organization. LinkedIn recorded year-on-year growth of senior leaders in the country taking the lead and initiating conversations about diversity on the platform.

It also saw that content on diversity gets on average 117% more engagement than the average company post.

As a result of the lack of diversity and barriers faced by women in progressing at work, more expect organizations to provide them with maternity leaves and extended maternity leaves. The expectation for extended maternity policies is a strong sentiment among working mothers. This suggests that women are aware and more vocal about the support they need from the workplace in order to balance work and family responsibilities effectively.

“There is strength in numbers. When more organisations come together, we can do more to help bring equitable recovery for all. It always starts with one small step — from encouraging open conversations on diversity and equality, and advocating for practical initiatives from flexible working hours to mentoring programmes. We must foster the right culture and values in our organisation, to ensure that everyone progresses together, and no one is left behind. When we do this, we can achieve so much more,” said Ang.