PAMPANGA – Most Filipino women farmers work alongside men in most farm tasks but have less access to important services, senatorial candidate Francis Pangilinan said Monday, vowing to close the gender gap in access to credit, training, and other livelihood services available to men.
“Except for food preparation, which is dominated by women, and in ploughing using tractors, which is done mostly by men, Filipino women farmers work side by side with their male counterparts in many farm jobs like planting/transplanting, weeding, threshing, and drying,” said the former Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.
Citing data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the Philippines, Pangilinan said many Filipino women help out in the farm to augment the family income.
But, he said, most of their contribution in agriculture is either undervalued or invisible.
“Compared to the men, women are less likely to own land or livestock, use new technologies, have access to credit, or get more training,” Pangilinan said.
“Studies have shown that when women have the same access to productive resources as men, they tend to increase farm yields by 20 to 30 percent,” he added.
Pangilinan said that when elected for the third time as senator, his agriculture-oriented legislation would ensure that women’s needs are considered and emphasized.
Among his legislative priorities are:
* Sagip Saka or the Farmer Entrepreneurship and Development Bill, which seeks to relieve farmers from back-breaking work and subsistence farming by developing their entrepreneurial skills to complement their farming skills;
* Agriculture and Fisheries Calamity Fund Bill, which seeks to aid farmers during times of calamity;
* Crop Insurance Bill, which seeks to expand the insurance coverage to other crops.
“In general, when women earn extra, unlike men, they tend to spend more of it on their children’s food, health, clothing, and education. This redounds both on the immediate well-being and long-term human capital formation and economic growth of the family, the community, and the nation,” Pangilinan said.