(Editor’s Note: This story is part of RealTalk Factchecker’s special series celebrating the National Women’s Month.)
MANILA, Philippines – Some say they hold up half the sky; some say they run the world. But when it comes to Philippine elections, women are still not in the lead, may it be in the number of candidates or in the tally of winners.
The women sector has long fought for rights and opportunities both locally and globally – from the right to vote in the elections to actually holding the highest position in the Executive.
Latest data from the Commission on Elections showed that for every five winners in the 2016 National and Local Elections, there was just one female in the group.
There were 44,872 candidates that fought for the 18,083 seats available for the 2016 National and Local Elections. Of this number, 36,091 were males and 8,666 were females – meaning there was also only one female candidate for every four male candidates in the most recent polls.
Comelec data also showed that female candidates were thoroughly outnumbered in all positions, may it be national (51 males, 11 females, and 115 unspecified), local (35,974 males and 8,645 females), or the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (66 males and 10 females).
The dataset, however, did not specify sexes of partylist nominees in the breakdown, though it was included in the national tally with a total of 59 seats mentioned as up for grabs, and 115 candidates for both sexes were mentioned.
Women candidates, data showed, had a relatively better outcome in the polls when compared to their initial odds. For example, in the local elections, women candidate made up only 19.38 percent of the total candidates, but their gender share rose to 21.46 percent in the elected roster.
Also, in the ARMM elections, from making up 13.16 percent of the candidates, women increased their share in the regional leadership to 15.38 percent as the results were released.
The 2016 National and Local Elections showed wins for a female vice-president, two female senators, 68 women district representatives, 19 female governors, 14 vice-governors, 154 female members of the provincial board, 377 female mayor, 322 female vice-mayors, 2,888 female councilors, and four female members of the ARMM regional assembly.
Since 1998, there also has been a slow increase in the number of elected women officials in the Philippines.
Of the 17,389 winners for the 1998 elections, 14,582 were males and 2,807 were females. In 2001, where the total of winners rose to 17,459, women increased their share to 2,996.
A little setback was felt by women winners in 2004, when their number slightly decreased to 2,918. Women elected officials passed the 3,000-mark when they tallied to 3,040 in the 2007 elections. This number continually rose to 3,291 in 2010 and 3,580 in 2013.
From a 16.14 percent winner share for women in elections, the Comelec report showed it rose to 17.16 percent in 2001, slightly decreased to 16.63 percent in 2004, bounced back to 17.36 percent in 2007, and continually rose to 18.54 percent in 2010, 19.99 percent in 2013, and 21.45 percent in 2016. – RealTalk, March 8, 2017