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Executive Summary for May 4th

In this week’s executive summary for Women’s Advancement Deeply, Duterte makes his domestic work travel ban permanent, South Africa’s minimum wage debate continues, and new evidence on son preference in India.

Published on May 4, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Philippines Makes Domestic Worker Travel Ban Permanent

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has said a temporary ban on Filipino workers traveling to Kuwait, enacted in February this year, will become permanent.

The announcement comes amid attempts by the government of Kuwait to defuse a diplomatic crisis over the treatment of migrant domestic workers in the Gulf country.

Last week, Kuwait expelled the Filipino ambassador over the release of a video of an alleged attempt to “rescue” domestic workers. The two countries have been at loggerheads since the body of Joanna Demafelis, a Filipina domestic worker, was found in her employers’ apartment in February.

“The ban stays permanently,” Duterte said at a news conference on Sunday. “There will be no more recruitment for especially domestic helpers. No more.”

South African Minimum Wage Debate Rages On

The South African government missed its original deadline to introduce a minimum wage. The minimum wage bill was approved in November, and was due to be in place on May 1, but it was sent back to the Department of Labour for review after public hearings.

A newly formed union group, the South African Federation of Trade Unions, has condemned the government for offering “slavery wages.”

At a May Day rally, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the proposed wage of 20 rand ($1.60) an hour was not a “living wage,” but that it was a start. The introduction of the minimum wage has been controversial, as it excludes domestic workers – the majority of whom are women – who will receive a lower rate of 15 rand ($1.20) per hour.

No Benefits From Son Preference in India

While many families in India express a preference for having sons, few additional benefits come from having a boy rather than a girl, a new study has found.

An analysis of national data by U.S. academic Laura Zimmermann has shown there is little evidence that women benefit immediately after having a son, and that any positive effects disappear by the time their son is 6 months old. Contrary to past assumptions, the study found that women do not end up with more bargaining power within households after having a son.

India’s most recent economic survey found there are 63 million fewer women in India than there should be, largely due to sex-selective abortion and poorer nutrition and healthcare for girls. It also found there are 21 million “unwanted girls,” born as families try for a son.

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