March 08, 2019

If they are truly the superior sex, then tapping their full potential would be a sound investment with good returns.

Of course, this statement would be contentious and raise objections from men who are already quite uneasy about the concept of gender equality.

But since it is International Women’s Month, let us yield the platform to the ladies in their quest for parity in the scheme of things.

And so we agree with and support a legislative initiative to maximize women power to achieve economic growth and national development.

Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara said private companies need not worry about hiring female employees in light of the recently approved law extending the paid maternity leave to 105 days from 60, citing the strength of women workers that is good for business and the benefit of achieving gender equality in the workplace.

President Duterte recently signed the law extending the paid maternity--the legislation Angara co-authored and co-sponsored in the Senate--amid apprehension on the possible increase in cost employers may incur as a result of the new measure and fresh worries about the potential discrimination of women in hiring.

"It's the choice employers have to make, but at the end of the day they will lose out on the significant benefits from hiring women," Angara said, noting that female workers are "more detail oriented and conscientious" as opposed to their male counterparts. "Doon sila magkakamali kung sakaling magkaroon sila ng bias against women."

He added: "I don't think it's fair for companies to give preference to a male applicant even if his female counterpart is more qualified for the job, just because they want to avoid the cost of maternity leave benefit. That's discrimination."

Citing a study by the International Finance Corp., the senator from Aurora who is seeking a new six-year term under the platform "Alagang Angara," said that bringing in more female into the workplace helps promote women's rights which is a good business practice.

He also cited a separate study by McKinsey Global Institute which showed that investing in initiatives that support women in the workplace is a "win-win" situation as both employers and employees obtain real benefits.

At least one-third of the companies that invested in these programs in emerging and developing countries improved their benefits and 38 percent expect earnings, according to the McKinsey study.