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Gender gap study on Laguna Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries’ Organizations reveals interesting findings

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by Samantha Geraldine G. De los Santos

Participation of women in gender and development is evident in Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries in Laguna. 

This was the result of the study presented by Community Innovations Studies Center (CISC) Director Blanquita R. Pantoja during the UPLB Gender Center 2018 Grant Presentation held on March 28, 2019 at the Obdulia F. Sison Hall. She led the "Analysis of Gender Gap in Selected Agrarian Reform Cooperatives in Laguna, Philippines: An Exploratory Study," which was funded by the UPLB Gender Center.

In her presentation, Dir. Pantoja discussed the various roles of a total of 90 women-members from the Perez Agrarian Reform Cooperative  in Calauan, Paagahan Agrarian Reform Community Multipurpose Cooperative in Mabitac, and Adia Multipurpose Cooperative in Santa Maria who participated in the study. Women in these cooperatives were active participants in economic gains of the family as 83% of them contributed to household income.

Interestingly, more than half (57%) of the women-members interviewed said that their decision to apply for a microfinance loan from the cooperatives was a decision made with their husbands, and most (77%) of these women applied for the loan themselves. The study also showed that a large majority (94%) of these women believed that there is an equal opportunity for both men and women to hold positions in the cooperatives. Likewise, majority (81%) of the women said they receive the same benefits as their male counterparts. In terms of participation, a large majority (93%) believed there is equal opportunity for men and women to participate in cooperative activities.

According to the World Economic Forum, gender gap "is the difference between women and men as reflected in social, political, intellectual, cultural, or economic attainments or attitudes." There is a gap when there is a difference between men and women in terms of available opportunities, positions held, and participation in organization. Currently, the ARBOs are approaching gender equality within their organizations. 

Aside from Director Pantoja, Ms. Samantha Geraldine G. De los Santos and Ms. Florita P. Rañeses, University Researcher I and University Research Associate II from CISC, respectively, are also part of the project team. 

The three cooperatives in this study were purposively selected based on the recommendation of the Department of Agrarian Reform Provincial Office in Laguna. These cooperatives are the top three agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in Laguna in terms of organizational maturity. The DAR uses ITeMA to measure organizational maturity, which considers six indicators such as Organizational Management, Resource Management, Social Enterprise Operations, Financial Performance, Alliance Building and Sustainability, and Environmental and Social Responsibility.

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