Right to Basic Social Services

*This is an excerpt from PKKK’s Rural Women Status Report on CEDAW 2011.

Women experience hunger differently from men.  Most of the times rural women prioritize male members of the family and children when there is little or not enough food.  Women comprise 30.1 % of the vulnerable groups who are experiencing chronic hunger in the Philippines.

PKKK study cited that women find ways to cope with hunger in the family by changing food preparation and diet intake of the family.

The composition of food of rural women varies from place to place.  In Samar, households eat Kamote, Palawan, gabi,  banana, rice, fish.  If rice is not available, rootcrops are used  alternative  source of carbohydrate during trying times. Home grown vegetables are also available.   They also have their ways of coping of eating.  They use salt, soy sauce, and cooking oil as viand.  There are instances that families go to sleep early because they have no food for dinner. 

Most rural women are engaged in food production but their access to food is limited.  UNDP noted that 28.4 % of pregnant women were nutritionally at risk in 2005 based on the weight for height index.  About 40% of pregnant women are anemic.  There is a higher incidence of anemia (50% and over) among women in Mindanao, the country’s food basket.

The diet of pregnant women is 78.4 % adequacy level for calories and low micronutrient levels. UNDP claimed that this increases the risk of maternal mortality and delivery of low birth weight infants.

The Philippine MDG Indicator states that the probability of attaining the target for potable drinking water of families is high. There is also a high probability of attaining the proportion of households with sanitary facility. The PPGD Assessment claims to have a  slight increase in coverage of households with access to water and sanitation services but there is an absence of gender analysis of the water and sanitation situation. Sanitation is a problem in Samar.  In  Quezon and Agusan, access to potable water is a concern of women because sources of potable water are far from households.


In terms of the MDG, the probability of attaining the target for universal primary education of both boys and girls is low. [1] The completion rate  (CR) trend decreased from 2002-2005.  UNDP attributed this to the weak ability of the government to provide complete basic education in more than 7,000 barangays in the country for the low completion rate in 2005.  Some 21% of the already established elementary schools in 2005 had incomplete grade level offering.  The access to education is affected by the access to income of parents and working children.

A case in point is the situation of  elementary classrooms in Lavisares in Samar and South Upi Maguindanao. [2]  In one of the monitoring visits in Samar there were dilapidated school buildings of Grades One and Two in Lavisares.   This was reported already to the Department of Education for a year and yet no visits were conducted yet.  It was cited in a study in Maguindanao that 85% of the residents in barangay Kuya could not write.  When the election process was still manual, they need someone to write the names of the candidates for them.   Participants of the research in Local and Sectoral Application of CEDAW in Maguindano  hopes that there will be an adult literacy program in their sitios (Sitio Bliugan in Rifao and Sitio Benuan in Kuya) or to at least learn how to write their names and read a little in order to prepare them for the election.  Others expressed scholarship programs for the youth, additional books for the students and improvement of school facilities.  Teachers likewise aired sentiments on low and delayed salary releases.  One teacher acknowledged that the food aid program coming from USAID and UNICEF has helped decrease the drop-out rate of students.  Another cause for drop-out is during planting season, where children are being used as additional labor or to take care of their siblings. 

In Cavite, PKKK research cited that there are mismatch among available jobs and educational attainment.  Most of the available jobs are outsourcing that requires English proficiency. 

Labor and Employment

In terms of labor and employment, there are more employed men than women.  The Labor Force survey of 2010 stated that 49.7 % labor force participation rate among women and 78.9 %.  There are 2.4 million women who are unpaid family workers while 1.9 million are men in 2006. [3] 73.7% are in the agricultural sector.

Governance among Rural Women

Rural women organization seeks co-management of programs and projects that concern them. They sit in Barangay Agrarian Reform Council (BARC), Provincial Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), Local Development Councils, Inter agency Task Forces where they actively participate as stakeholders in accessing basic services.

The access to basic services of rural women is anchored on two principles in the Magna Carta of Women. One is to promote empowerment of women and pursue equal opportunities for women and men and ensure equal access to resources and to development results and outcome. Another is to develop plans, policies, programs, measures, and mechanisms to address discrimination and inequality in the economic, political, social, and cultural life of women and men.

The access question is part of the economic, social and cultural rights.  It is the obligation of the State to progressively realize these rights.


[1]               http://www.undp.org.ph/?link=goal_2

[2]               PKKK Localization of CEDAW and TSM Research.

[3]               October 2006 figures


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