Women in Manila have good economic opportunities, but need better access to healthcare: survey

Two women are silhouetted as they walk at a hotel in Manila on August 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN
Two women are silhouetted as they walk at a hotel in Manila on August 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN

After being ranked the 6th least safe city by a survey released this week, Manila residents may be surprised to find out that it is actually one of the safest cities for women.

According to a survey released by the Thomson Reuters Foundation last week, Manila is the 6th safest city for women out of 19 megacities studied.

The Philippine capital was said to be better for women than other international cities like New York, Buenos Aires, and Sao Paulo.

Manila ranked high (17) when participants were asked about economic opportunities, a result that is consistent with last year’s World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Wage Gap Index that ranked the Philippines at number seven out 144 countries.

Still, this does not mean Filipino women have it easy, especially when it comes to healthcare access.

Manila was ranked number 10 by the Thomson Reuters survey, lower than Jakarta, Dhaka, and Istanbul, cities that appear lower in the overall ranking.

This is probably caused by the uneven implementation of the Philippines’ Reproductive Health (RH) law. Last November, the Commission on Human Rights said that the City of Manila stopped funding for contraceptives even though this is mandated by the RH law.

More than 86 percent of the Philippine population is Catholic, a religion that has spoken out against the use of contraception. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines was one of the biggest critics of the RH law.

Apart from economic opportunities and access to healthcare, the survey, which polled at least 15 experts from each country, also took into consideration factors like sexual violence and cultural practices in each city.

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