The special focus of the report is the situation of Philippine women. It tracks progress in gender equality over the years; the kind of discrimination women have had to overcome and still have to overcome; the hazards they face in the workplace. The enhancement of women's capabilities and opportunities to make choices is an important element of human development. The gains attained by the Philippines in increasing women's access to education and jobs in certain sectors, and participation in elections as voters and candidates have been significant. While there are efforts from the government, academia and non-governmental organizations to address these gender issues, much still needs to be done. One of the initial steps that must be undertaken is to develop a system of gender-disaggregated data collection, processing and dissemination at both the local and national levels to improve awareness and understanding of gender issues. There is also a need to assess economic policies and programs in terms of their gender-responsiveness and gender-based impact, and change the deeply ingrained assumption of gender neutrality in the thinking of academics, policy advisers, lawmakers and public officials.