Submitted by: Danika Kleiber
In small island communities of the Central Philippines, being surrounded by water is a part of daily existence. Yet my research shows that less than 30 per cent of women know how to swim. In contrast, almost 80 per cent of men can swim at least 100 metres. For adult women, this inability to swim represents a safety issue and reinforces the restriction of their fishing activities to shallow waters. Children (girls and boys) are, however, at greatest risk of drowning, constituting nearly 75 per cent of victims. Swimming lessons should be added to educational programs in a bid to overcome gender disadvantages and improve safety.