January 29, 2009
Reference: Emmi de Jesus, Secretary General, 371-2302, 0917-3221203
7 OUT OF 10 LAID OFF WORKERS ARE WOMEN
Women’s Group Alarmed at Further Vulnerability of Women
Women comprise 70 to 80 per cent of the Filipino workers currently being retrenched due to the impact of global financial crisis. This was according to GABRIELA National Alliance of Women.
GABRIELA based their conclusion on the data of Philippine Economic Zone Authority in 2005 that 75 to 80 per cent of workers in export processing zones are women. Currently, most of the establishments closing down or laying off workers are from the electronics industry in export processing zones.
Data from the Department of Labor and Employment shows that in Region IV alone, a total of 10,344 workers in Calabarzon were displaced from October 2008 to January 19, 2009.
“This is extremely alarming for the already handful of Filipino women in formal employment,” said Emmi de Jesus, secretary general of the militant women’s group GABRIELA. “We can only imagine how anxious the remaining EPZA workers with neighboring factories closing down one after another.”
De Jesus also said that the women in the informal sector are also affected by the global financial crisis. “With the massive loss of jobs, less and less households can afford to hire house helpers or avail of services of laundrywomen or other odd jobs women take on to cope.”
“This further job dislocation of women is ominous because it also portends of further vulnerability of women to sexual exploitation,” added De Jesus.
According to De Jesus, a study done by Center for Women’s Resources, a research institute for women showed that women workers desperate to keep their jobs tend to overlook, tolerate and even accept sexual advances of superiors or employers.
“Furthermore, crises always mean a boom for the illegal sex trade with the influx of women desperate for livelihood. For example, in Taiwan alone there are more than a thousand OFWs who lost their jobs and 90 per cent of them are women. With the Philippine government encouraging these workers to stay put in Taiwan for possible future employment, it is not unlikely that some of them will fall prey to sex trade,” said De Jesus.
“The current devastation in the lives of the Filipino working class women is the undoing of the Arroyo government. No amount of so-called relief packages can mollify the impact of global financial crisis. The only way out is for comprehensive social change starting by extricating our economy from the stranglehold of trade liberalization impositions.”###