By William Casis

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian cited the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) that revealed the country’s female high school students outperformed their male counterparts in basic academic performance.

The PISA 2018 report shows that girls scored 27 points higher than boys in Reading Comprehension.

In terms of performance in Mathematics, girls scored 12 points higher than boys and scored four points higher than boys in Science.

The gender disparity in education, Gatchalian said,  is not only evident in the Philippines.

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2020 shows the persistence of gender inequalities in the acquisition of different competencies.

And while this year’s Global Gender Gap report highlights the growing urgency for action, in the country, Gatchalian is seeking intensified measures against teenage pregnancy.

The lawmaker puts emphasis on teenage pregnancy as the top reason why female students drop out of school.

According to the Philippines Statistics Authority’s (PSA) Annual Poverty Indicators Survey 2017, “marriage or family matters” is the top reason why female out-of-school children and youth (OSCY) aged 6-24 are not attending school.

The PSA’s 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) also reported that nine percent of 4.9 million teenage women aged 15-19 have begun child-bearing.

In the goal to give the youth equal opportunity in education, he said it is important to identify the hindrances in attaining this goal.

“In the case of young girls, early pregnancy should be one of the main focus,” said  Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

“Fostering gender equality is about empowering half of our population with both the opportunities and skills to succeed in school and later on, in their professional lives,” he added.

Because of this, he underscored the need to fight early pregnancy  because this has been depriving many youth of a bright future.