Night work for women brings more risks than opportunities – Women WISE3

Women WISE3 criticized the lifting of prohibition from night work of women saying that it brings more risks and damages than opportunity to women workers.

Early this June, President Aquino signed into law the bill that repealed Article 130 and 131 of the Labor Code that prohibit night work for women. The law was hailed by DOLE Secretary Baldoz for giving equal opportunity for women and increased health protection for night workers.

Mayeth Sapigao, Women WISE3 coordinator, however warns of adverse effects on women’s health due to night work. “Previous studies of the World Health Organization have shown that women who engage in night work are more vulnerable to cancer due to prolonged exposure to artificial lighting.”

“Though the government says that the provisions of this new law include increased health protection and benefits for women workers, past experience and current regulations on health standards provide no guarantee. For instance, companies who employ more than 20 workers are not compelled to undergo government inspection. Instead, they are allowed to self-evaluate their own implementation of occupational health and safety standards thus leaving the companies to police their own compliance to labor standards.”

“Also, despite the very minimal benefits accorded to women before the passage of this bill, there are still a lot of cases of non-compliance of companies to these women-specific benefits especially for contractual and non-unionized women workers.”

“The government’s justification for pushing this bill is to eliminate gender bias in workplaces. Interestingly, the same law also allows more flexible work arrangement for women in various industries especially in the business process outsourcing and economic zones where union-organizing is most difficult.

“It must be noted that the government’s bias to open its labor market to the world by offering more flexible working arrangements has severely compromised the welfare of workers especially of women. And, inasmuch as we support the call for equal access to work opportunity for men and women, such condition cannot be possible as long as the core employment policy is inclined towards increased flexibilization of labor whose impacts have become more detrimental than beneficial to workers’ interests. In the end, this new law might actually bring more risks and cause further exploitation of women workers instead of providing them opportunities to have quality and secure working conditions,” Sapigao said.

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