Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 October 2015
Older women are often perceived as more vulnerable to social, economic, and health disadvantages. It is often surmised that gender discrimination is the main cause for the disadvantages they face. In situations where social structures reinforce such gender biases, particularly in education and employment opportunities, the cumulative effect of earlier life experiences render older women generally poorer than men. There are those who argue that the perceived disadvantaged position of older women may be an oversimplified global generalization which ignores the substantial variations in the relative situations of older men and women (Ofstedal, Reidy, and Knodel 2004; Knodel and Ofstedal 2003). In the Philippines, for example, the legal framework affirms equality for all citizens regardless of gender, which has helped ensure a relatively high degree of protection of its women. This is not to say that gender equality has been fully achieved, given the discrimination against women that continues to prevail in some sectors in the Philippines. It is thus important to understand the gender situation, particularly on the economic front among the older cohort, most of whom come from the generations that preceded the enactment of policies and programmes that have protected the rights and privileges of women in the country.
This chapter aims to provide an empirical analysis of the economic well-being of older Filipinos highlighting differences across gender and marital status groups. It explores the levels and differentials in economic status of older people using various objective and subjective indicators of economic well-being. The extent to which subjective and objective indicators of economic well-being interrelate with each other is likewise examined so as to generate a more appropriate measure for assessing the economic well-being of older Filipinos. This analysis is of importance in a low-income country such as the Philippines where a third of the country's population is currently living in poverty (UN OCHA, n.d.), with the older sector expected to be more vulnerable to economic liabilities.