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  • Moms Don't Think About THEIR Financial Security Until It's Too Late (Don't Let It Be You)

    Here are five facts that prove gender equality matters for every woman's wallet.
    by Aneth Ng-Lim .
Moms Don't Think About THEIR Financial Security Until It's Too Late (Don't Let It Be You)
PHOTO BY iStock
  • At age 64 and a few months shy of her retirement, the executive director of the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) recently shared her one regret when it came to securing her financial future.

    “I regret I did not take insurance seriously at an earlier age. Because I am single, I do not have children, I believed I could just take care of myself,” related Emmeline Verzosa.  “Until age started manifesting itself on my knees, on my neck, on my joints, and I realized I was not immortal.”

    Verzosa heads the government agency tasked with promoting and protecting women’s rights in the Philippines. Her candid testimony confirms the alarming situation today of women not knowing what financial products are out there and what they need to enjoy financial security.
    Verzosa went on to say that she bought her first insurance plan at age 54, and only because it was a high school classmate who was selling, a person she could not say no to.

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    However last year, when Verzosa met officials from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Versoza was educated that there was more to insurance than preparing for deaths or major accidents, catastrophic events or dreaded diseases.

    “I remember well what they said: women must be protected from day-to-day risks that they face — like having a complicated pregnancy, losing a job, getting sick or a child getting sick, or being abused, or abandoned.”

    Verzosa spoke of her life and money lessons at the launch of "InLife Sheroes," a groundbreaking partnership between IFC, which is a member of the World Bank Group, and Insular Life.

    InLife Sheroes is a women-centric campaign designed to educate females across life stages on financial management, health, and well-being. The program is expected to impact the lives of at least one million Filipinas.

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    Why Pinays need insurance

    With an estimated population of 54 million women in the country, Insular Life’s executive chair Nina Aguas said there is a huge segment that is either unserved or underserved when it comes to a woman's insurance needs. Here are some gender facts uncovered from the collaboration between Insular Life and IFC.

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    Fact #1: The Philippines is considered an example when it comes to gender equality.

    IFC’s manager of Gender Secretariat Henriette Kolb said that Filipino women are significantly outpacing men at secondary school levels. “They represent 69% of firm ownership, one of the highest levels in the world according to a Mastercard study; 49% of the formal labor force; and based on the market research we undertook together with Insular Life we’ve found that 97% of Filipino women make decisions on their own or jointly with their spouse.”

    Fact #2: However, the gender pay gap continues to be a concern as well as work tenure and security for women.

    “Despite legislation mandating that women receive equal pay for equal work, the average Filipina professional still only earns 69% of what her male counterpart earns,” Kolb disclosed. “And further widening the gender pay gap, employers are not legally required to reinstate women in an equivalent position and salary after maternity leave.”

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    Fact #3: Yes, more doors are opening for them, but Filipinas are always at risk of losing their financial standing.

    One win is that Filipino women today have increased access to opportunities as professionals and entrepreneurs. “However, they remain vulnerable to any financial, social, physical or natural shocks, thus increasing their potential risk of going back into poverty,” explained Kolb.

    Fact #4: Millennial Filipinas have many money-related fears.

    “During the market research we undertook with Insular Life, we found that women millennials worry about not being able to afford the health care needs for their aging parents. They are also concerned about not having the adequate savings to cushion the impacts of unexpected events, let alone own property,” related Kolb.

    According to IFC, once women move to child-bearing age, the cost of healthcare for themselves (the cost of delivery in the Philippines is between Php30,000 and Php200,000 ) and their children increases significantly.

    “At this life stage women’s long-term earning potential and financial security are also impacted because of them taking most caring responsibilities while trying to perform at work or grow their businesses,” Kolb pointed out.

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    Fact #5: Number of single parents are on the rise, and 67% are women.

    The percentage of single-headed households in the Philippines are rising, and two out of the three million are headed by women. This means women are increasingly bearing most of the financial burden of raising families on their own.

    In the last 12 months, Insular Life and IFC have been collaborating at various levels to collect data, generate valuable information, and conduct gender sensitivity workshops. “In trying to understand the women market in the country, we found that they have very little knowledge of saving, investing, and risk protection. We must bridge the knowledge gap through financial literacy programs and address the limited access to business and social networks with the help of technology,” appealed Aguas.

    With IFC’s support, Insular Life is now developing insurance solutions designed for women with specific coverage, bundling of products, and customized add-on services. 

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    One of these is EntrePinay, an insurance solution geared to women business owners who until now paid for most of their health care out of pocket and could not afford to cover their employees let alone offer them some financial assistance during childbirth events. EntrePinay comes with added value services and knowledge to help women business owners better manage and grow their businesses.

    The InLife Sheroes program is part of Insular Life’s broader strategy to empower Filipino women to achieve a better life. The company is also working towards becoming a women’s employer of choice and is working towards obtaining an EDGE certification, a global business certification standard for gender equality. 

    “Gender equality is not only a social and moral imperative, but also an economic necessity,” urged Kolb. “With InLife Sheroes, we can strengthen women’s wellbeing and also increase their ability to grow and become even stronger participants in the economic development of the Philippines.”

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