The global megatrend of the rise of digital platforms has increased labor opportunities for both men and women. Developing countries such as the Philippines have the potential to capitalize on this expansion, but opportunities may be limited where fundamental access issues exist. Gender norms and care work also play a role in determining access to opportunities and explaining alleged wage disparities. This study investigates the vision on digital jobs for the Philippines, the challenges faced, the key policy issues about digital jobs, and how the future of digital jobs looks like from the frontier of current practice and lived experiences of those specializing in online freelancing in rural areas of the Philippines. With gender and development in the countryside as the main interest of this study, we distill insights and identify key themes from a series of qualitative data collection sessions using a critical narrative approach, as well as a trendspotting and futurecasting approach to understanding the frontier. According to the literature, early adopters of online freelancing in the countryside face significant challenges in terms of access to skills, motivation, material, and usage, as well as other fundamental barriers that limit opportunities, despite ongoing programs to support the expansion of the ICT industry beyond Metro Manila and key urban cities. Policy recommendations are developed with the goal of leveling the playing field for women interested or engaged in platform work in the countryside.
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