With the unprecedented growth of Philippine tourism and its potential to create more jobs for women, the government is pushing for policies that are more gender-responsive.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the industry has opened up opportunities for more Filipinos, with around 5.3 million jobs related to tourism — a share of 13.1 percent to the country’s total employment in 2017.

“We must assure that the benefits are equally felt throughout the different sectors by means of policy and practice, without partiality,” she said in a speech during the “Jobs and Women in the Philippine Tourism” forum in Pasay City on Tuesday.

“This is our first step to achieving a gender-responsive tourism industry in 2018 alone,” she added.

Romulo-Puyat said the industry has the potential to contribute “greater gender equality” & “empowerment” among Filipino women.

“The initiatives of the government translate directly to jobs available for women and opportunities for inclusive advancement of all,” she said.

The Department of Tourism continues to work towards a “progressive and vibrant tourism industry that is inclusive and resilient”, she added.

Among others, it also leads the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) program on Gender and Development in Tourism.

“As we push for further equality here in the Philippines, we play the central role in advancing the agenda on the international stage,” she said.

“We have recently finalized the ASEAN GAD (Gender and Development) Framework for Tourism which aims to strengthen the gender institutional capacity of ASEAN Member States,” she shared. “The said framework is patterned on our own strategy with the inclusion of key regional issues.” (PNA)