News Release

Philippine News Agency

PH to UN: Invest in education as zero-poverty strategy for women

MANILA – The Philippines urged stakeholders during the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) to invest in quality education as a way to accelerate the eradication of poverty among girls.

During an interactive dialogue with youth representatives at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York on Friday (PH time), Philippine representative Mandy Romero lamented that at least one in five Filipino women live in poverty, further limiting their access to education.

“Investing in quality education is one of the most transformative zero poverty strategies — to give a platform for diverse female voices,” she said, as stated in a news release.

“While the Philippines has proudly achieved gender parity and free access for primary and secondary education, barriers like family responsibilities, malnutrition, hazardous journeys prone to gender-based violence, and disabilities keep one in 10 girls out of basic education,” she added.

Among girls in poverty, Romero said the success gap and gender divide further widen as they move from secondary to tertiary education or the workforce.

But provide them with the right opportunities, she said women have the capacity to bring transformative change within her community.

In the Philippines, she said only 49 percent of Filipino women are part of the labor force compared to the 73 percent of men but college-educated Filipino women are “73 percent more likely to participate in the labor force.”

“Women seize every opportunity and act as change agents. Their economic empowerment transforms communities,” Romero said.

She cited Philippine initiatives such as the sustainable livelihood program that provides marginalized women with startup capital, financial literacy, and skills training for micro enterprises and employment assistance.

Through the country’s Free Tertiary Education law, Romero noted that majority of the 2.4 million annual scholars are women.

To further close the labor force gap, the government also strives to empower girls and women to be innovators with demand-led skills in male-dominated fields like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and agri-fisheries.

“Decisively, the classroom is a microcosm of our future as a country,” Romero said.

“Every program and policy must be centered on equity and diversity to break intergenerational cycles of poverty. Invest in girls, and watch it change the world,” she ended.

Romero belongs to 1Pacman Party-list, which her father, Mikee, represents in the House of Representatives.

The CSW68 is the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

This year’s priority theme is “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.”

Governments, civil society organizations, experts and activists around the world will agree on actions and investments that can end women’s poverty and advance gender equality from March 11 to 22. (PNA)