Thursday, June 1, 2023

The Current Issues Facing OFW Women – Overseas Filipino Workers

MoneyThe Current Issues Facing OFW Women - Overseas Filipino Workers

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) contribute significantly to the Philippine economy. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, there were approximately 2.2 million OFWs in 2019. Among these OFWs, women constitute a considerable number. Many families rely on these women but face multiple challenges when they go abroad.

Current Issues Faced By Filipino Women Abroad:

  • OFWs, especially women, face various challenges, such as gender-based violence and contractualization.
  • Separation from families leads to emotional distress and lack of communication.
  • Long working hours affect the physical and mental health of Filipinos abroad.
  • Vulnerability to human trafficking is also an issue faced by OFW women.
  • Remittance services, POEA, Philippine embassies abroad, and non-governmental organizations help empower OFW women.

OFW women face numerous issues and challenges before and after their departure from the country. Unfortunately, these issues are not given enough attention and support. Here are the current issues facing OFW women from the Philippines.

Gender-based violence

One of the critical issues that OFW women face is domestic violence. According to a study conducted by the United Nations, violence against women remains prevalent, and migrant women are more vulnerable. Domestic violence becomes more significant when OFW women are away from their support system in a foreign country. There is a lack of legal and institutional support overseas that OFW women can rely on. In some cases, women may have compromised their rights and been victimized by their employers.


Contractualization refers to hiring workers under a labor arrangement where the employee is hired for a specific period. OFW women hired through contractual arrangements are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. These women are often not given adequate protection like fair wages and employment benefits. There is a significant power imbalance between the employer and the employee, rendering the latter powerless in cases of violations of rights.

Separation From Families

The distance between the OFW woman and her family becomes a significant problem. The separation often leads to emotional distress and mental health issues. The isolation is overwhelming and exacerbates loneliness when away from family and support systems. Moreover, communication problems due to time differences and busy schedules make their return to the Philippines difficult, further affecting their ability to reconnect with their loved ones.

Long Working Hours

Due to the high cost of living abroad, many OFWs, especially women, are forced to work long hours. This significantly impacts their physical health and increases the likelihood of experiencing fatigue. Furthermore, long working hours make it challenging to maintain a work-life balance, which can affect their mental well-being.

Vulnerability to Human Trafficking

One of the most significant risks OFW women face is human trafficking. Traffickers prey on OFW women, promising them jobs with excellent pay, benefits, and travel opportunities. Instead, they put the women in situations of exploitation. The women work in slave-like conditions or become victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Resources to Empower These Women

Empowerment is one of the best strategies to address the issues faced by OFW women. Various resources have been set up to support these women and create awareness. Here are some of those resources that can empower these women.

Remittance Services

OFW women require the right service to bring back home the bacon. That’s why they need options to send money to Philippines online. These online options can provide Filipino women the flexibility and convenience to send remittances anytime. It also makes it much safer than carrying cash.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration

The POEA provides various programs to promote the welfare and protection of OFWs. This government-regulated body offers job placement and counseling to OFW women. They also provide an information portal with tips on how to apply for a job abroad safely.

Philippine Embassies Abroad

Embassies in foreign countries can help OFW women by providing them with information about their rights, legal assistance, and access to social services if they need it. Moreover, embassies offer counseling services for those dealing with emotional distress due to the separation from their families.

Non-Government Organizations

Several non-governmental organizations support and assist OFW women in vulnerable situations, such as those who experience gender-based violence or human trafficking. These organizations offer legal advice, social services, and psychological support for OFW women in need.

Online Communities

Lastly, online communities are increasingly becoming a source of support for OFW women. Through these online forums, they can share their experiences and gain access to valuable information on how to adapt and cope with the challenges of being away from home.

These resources help make OFW women more empowered, informed, and protected while away from home. These resources can guide them to access their rights and maintain a safe work environment.

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