The Philippines ranks 32 places higher on the WPS Index than on income per capita, reflecting major achievements in inclusion, despite long-running conflicts in some parts of the country. In 2009, the national government adopted a Magna Carta for Women, a national plan to implement the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This followed earlier commitments to gender equality in the 1987 constitution and the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development 1995–2025 (Philippine Commission on Women 2009). Also in 2009, the Philippines became the first Asian country to adopt a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, committing to more gender-responsive peace processes and agreements. The 2014 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was the world’s first to be brokered and signed with a rebel group by a female peace negotiator. Although there were no formal mechanisms for women’s participation in the peace process, women influenced the shape of the agreement, including, for example, establishing designated development funds for women’s programs and economic programs for decommissioned female forces (Chang et al. 2015).
In the Philippines, women’s parliamentary representation is high by regional standards, almost 30 per- cent in the House of Representatives and 25 percent in the Senate (IPU 2016). Yet, gender inequality persists in the labor market, including, for example, a gender wage gap in annual earnings exceeding 40 percent (Asian Development Bank 2013). Women’s employment rate in the Philippines also falls below the regional average of 62 percent. In addition, women’s access to justice is limited. A woman cannot be head of household or con- vey citizenship in the same way as a man (World Bank 2016b). While comprehensive domestic violence legislation covers physical, sexual, psychological, and economic violence, the courts in the Philippines are reportedly congested and corrupt, and litigation is lengthy (de Silva de Alwis and Klugman 2015).