SINCE the 1970s, the country’s labor market has been driven by export-oriented economic policies that employ women in industries such as domestic care, textile and garment production, food processing, and electronics manufacturing. While this en masse recruitment of Filipina laborers paved the way for progress in addressing gender gap issues in terms of economic opportunities, educational attainment and political participation, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) stresses that women workers continue to experience diverse forms of discrimination in the workplace.
The Philippines has yet to ratify Convention 190 (C190) or the convention concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work since it was adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in June 2019.
The said Convention should be ratified for its revolutionary provisions that obligate the government, as primary duty bearers, to prevent, address, and eradicate work-related violence and harassment in the “world of work.” This means that situations associated with or arising out of work are also included in the scope of protection of C190. For instance, violations involving co-workers or superiors that may have happened in digital or public spaces can also be held accountable.
C190 not only upholds workers’ labor rights, it likewise promotes social justice and gender equality. When women workers feel valued, they are more likely to be motivated to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. On a macroeconomic level, it creates an enabling environment conducive to higher worker productivity, increased job satisfaction, and better employee well-being.
We are calling for the mainstreaming of gender lens across the government’s programs, services, and domestic measures. In line with our mandate to forward recommendations to Congress for human rights-centered policy developments, we urge leaders and policymakers to also take notable steps to empower women workers parallel to the ratification of C190.
Let us help resolve the compounding problems faced by the most marginalized to realize a truly humane and just society where all are equal in dignity and rights. (CHR)