Government remains unresponsive on the plight of female agri workers

Manila, Philippines – The National Federation of Peasant Women or Amihan decried the economic discrimination and gender inequality endured by female agricultural workers based on the study of the Philippine Statistics Authority from 2017 to 2019 under the Duterte regime. The study bared that in 2019, the average daily nominal wage rate of male and female agricultural workers were P 335 and P304.60 per day, respectively, or around P30 per day wage differential.

Amihan exclaimed that the wage gap was severe and, thus demanded for policies to address it between gender. The study covered male and female agricultural workers and laborers in the palay, corn, coconut and sugarcane sectors in the country. Moreover, the group slated the Duterte regime for its unresponsiveness to the plight of the female agricultural workers, amid chronic economic crisis and impact of the pandemic, worsening their socio-economic standings.

“We demand to put an end on the discrimination against female agricultural workers and laborers, and at the same time, call for an equal pay with male agricultural workers and reasonable wage increases. This has been an overdue demand of the Filipino peasant women to past and present regimes, and yet this anti-women practices continue. Present wages paid to female agricultural workers is far from the average P480 to P700 daily cost of living in the countryside,” stated by Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson said in a statement.

According to the study, wage gap in palay sector was at P26.83, or male and female farm workers receiving P355.67 and P328.84, respectively. In Mimaropa, it was as high as P115.47, or P422.93 for male, and only P307.46 for female. In corn, the widest wage gap recorded was in Central Luzon at P45.29, or P350.94 and P305.65 among sexes. In the coconut sector, it was P42.09, and in sugarcane in the Davao region, it was as high as P178.22.

Amihan said that the data was very alarming and necessitates urgent policy intervention from local and national governments. Based on their own research in 2019, palay farm workers were already enduring P200 to P250 pay for their daily work during the harvest season. In Isabela, transplanting rice only earned the farm worker with P280. In Negros Occidental, youth and female sugarcane agricultural workers were only paid around P110 to P120 per day of applying fertilizers, P5 less than their adult male counterparts.

“As we continue to demand for gender equality and an equal pay with male agricultural workers, we also demand for the Duterte regime to prioritize the rural development of the agricultural sector particularly in pursuing the free land distribution for the landless farmers, peasant women and agricultural workers. ###

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