Female Status, Development, and Women’s Work in the Philippines

by Nimfa B. Ogena, Master of Arts in Demography (1984)

The study focused on the interrelationships between female status, development and women’s work behavior in the Philippines. Using a multi-level approach and time-sequence logit models, the mechanisms through which context links with individual behavior were examined. Data from the 1983 National Demographic Survey and context variables at the province level were employed. The two dependent variables in the study were: (1) a contextual measure of female status relative to men (operationalized as gender inequality in education, health, work status, occupation and industry) and (2) an absolute measure of individual work status.

Tested at the province-level was the Threshold Hypothesis: Development is positively related to female status at initial development stages then the relationship reverses or levels off at later stages. For education and health, the Threshold Hypothesis applies, but gender inequalities in these domains continued to decrease at extremely high levels of development. The work participation, occupation, and industry domains demonstrate the reverse: While thresholds still apply, gender inequality tends to increase at early stages of development, then declines at higher levels.

At the individual level, work status stability after leaving school is the most obvious pattern. Marriage-related values for work did apply once a woman passed the selection process for work entry. Human capital factors, especially women’s previous work experience, are the most important predictors of women’s work-behavior. Full- or part-time work experience both lead to work career trajectories.

Results also confirm Macro-Micro Link Hypothesis which suggests inherent connections between context and individual work behavior, with compositional effects of context at age 15 exhibiting greater and longer influences on women’s work behavior over time than interactive effects of context. The compositional variable that consistently conditions women’s work behavior is mean years of education: The higher the mean of years of education in the province at age 15, the lower the effect of individual years of education on work status.