How We Raise Our Daughters and Sons:
Child -Rearing and Gender Socialization in the Philippines
Ma. Emma Concepcion Liwag, Alma de la Cruz and Ma. Elizabeth Macapagal
United Nations Children’s Fund and Ateneo Wellness Center, 1999.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org /email@example.com
All the psychological concepts of how gender roles are formed and learned by children stress
the central role of the family. The family is the child’s fundamental socializing group and
natural environment for growing into maleness and femaleness. Various questions have been
raised in terms of family beliefs which influence gender determination, discriminatory
practices for or against the girl child and over-all gender role expectations.
A comprehensive literature review on child-rearing in the Philippines was conducted to
address the above concerns. Specifically, the review focused on the following research
Describe Filipino child-rearing attitudes, beliefs, expectations and practices from
early childhood to early adulthood (0-18) which demonstrate explicit and implicit
differential socialization for boys and girls;
Analyze the influence, impact and consequences of these child-rearing practices
on the development and learning of gender roles and stereotypes among Filipino
children (for both boys and girls);
Assess critically these child-rearing practices in terms of their contributions to
the disadvantages and discriminations experienced by the Filipina girl-child.
The study further provides an analytical framework to critically assess the situation of the
Filipina girl-child of today based on cultural beliefs and gendering by home environments. It
presents strategies for social reflection and advocacy in light of discriminatory practices
against the Filipino girl-child.
To achieve the research objectives, a library research of published and unpublished works
covering the period from 1970 to 1997 was conducted. A concerted effort was made from
April to June 1997 to survey the literature published nationwide. To avoid an exclusively
urban or Metro Manila bias, special attention was given to regional studies.
The sampling included books in psychology, sociology, anthropology, gender and/or
women’s studies, family studies, communication, education and social work. Literature
reviews, scholarly journals and annotated bibliographies also formed part of the review.
The literature search was guided by key words such as: child-rearing practices; beliefs;
attitudes; methods; gendered home environments; gender role socialization; and the like. A
total of 131 studies were found to be relevant to the research. An abstract for each study was
prepared complete with bibliographic information, research objectives, data-gathering
process methods, significant findings/results and conclusions. These were then analyzed on
the bases of common results and themes.
A Conceptual Framework Derived from the Literature
The Socialization of Gender
Socialization is the complex process of learning those behaviors that are considered
appropriate within a given culture. Gender socialization is one of its most pervasive
The conceptual model of gender socialization (Figure 1) shows society’s gender prescriptions
as reflected in and by the family.
Figure 1. A conceptual model of gender socialization derived from the empirical literature
Society’s gender Creation of
expectations gender differences in home
Traits and environment of children by
behaviors parents as affected by: Gender differences in
Parental gender child rearing during the
preference in specific childhood and adolescent
domains (e.g., work, stages
Parental gender role
Reinforcement Gender differences in
The model is used to structure the discussion of the findings of the review: specific
expectations of masculine and feminine behaviors in the Philippine society; the family‘s
influences in terms of gender preferences, parents’ expectations, gender differences in child-
rearing, resource allocation of families between genders; and inferred outcomes of gender
socialization girls and boys experienced in their families as reinforced by schools and the
media. The latter recreates a behavioral, attitudinal and emotional profile of the Filipino girl-
child as drawn from the literature.
The Research Findings
The Girl -Child and the Filipina Woman She Is Expected to Be
There are clear-cut gender role expectations in Philippine society. The literature points to
two main ideas: patriarchy brings about separate sexual standards (femininity is associated
with being mahinhin (modest), pino ang kilos (refined) and mabini (demure), while being malakas
(strong), matipuno (brawny) and malusog (healthy) are associated with masculinity); and second,
the family is the primary socialization agent that perpetuates the disparity.
Filipino mothers and fathers hold themselves up rigidly to societal prescriptions of what is
proper maternal (“feminine”) and paternal (“masculine”) roles and behaviors. Consequently,
the children they raise internalize and perpetuate these self-same expectations.
With the bias that women are essentially perceived as wives, mothers and homemakers
(Baylon, 1975; Asprer, 1980; Gonzalez, 1977; Makil, 1981; Sobritchea, 1990), the Filipino
girl-child is expected to learn to manage a household and fulfill domestic obligations and
responsibilities in the future.
The Girl-Child and How She is Raised in the Filipino Family
Filipino children are socialized to their gender identities in a variety of ways. The studies
under review dealt with the subject extensively, but six (6) topics became very prominent:
1. Parental Preferences for Daughters and Sons
Several studies have shown that Filipino families prefer sons over daughters (Bulatao, 1975;
Jurilla, 1986), especially for the first born (Mendez and Jocano, 1979a; Estrada, 1983). This is
expressed strongly by fathers (Mendez & Jocano, 1979a; Estrada, 1983).
On the other hand, female children are highly desired by parents, especially mothers
(Licuanan, 1979; Estrada, 1983). They are preferred “so that they can help in housework and
family chores” (Bulatao, 1975, 1978), and assist the mother in fulfilling the work of
nurturance. She is viewed as an ever-dependable source of support (Castillo, 1993) or tagasalo
(rescuer) (Carandang, 1987).
2. Gender-Related Expectations that Parents have for their Children
By and large, studies suggest no salient sex differences in parents’ character expectations for
children. Sobritchea (1990) found that parents expected their children, both girls and boys,
to develop traits of industry, respect, perseverance in studies and kindness. Licuanan (1979)
reported that parents wanted their children to have a college education—a goal set for both
male and female children. However, Minoza, Tablante and Botor (1984) observed that
mothers had higher aspirations for their male preschool children than for females.
3. Gender-differentiated Child-rearing Beliefs and Practices
Parental and Infancy Stages
During the prenatal and infancy stages, the expectant mother’s looks are associated with the
gender of the unborn child. The unborn girl-child is associated with the mother’s looks –
pretty and not so heavy (Sobritchea, 1990 ); the unborn boy-child is believed to be strong, to
eat more and to grow faster.
It has been reported that boys and girls are treated are alike until 5 or 6 years of age (Guthrie
and Jacobs, 1966) and that gender socialization begins at about age 10 (Stoodley, 1957).
Gender segregation. Gender segregation begins when children reach school age. Prior to this
brothers and sisters are allowed to sleep, bathe and swim together (Jocano, 1970; Mendez
and Jocano, 1979a). Rigid separation of the sexes is enforced in Maranao families when the
children reach 6 years of age.
Play. It is during play time that sex differentiation is observed among Filipino children.
Bahay-bahayan (playing house; Estrada, 1983), and lutu-lutuan (cooking, Jocano, 1988) are
some games where girls enact mother –and -- baby scenarios and performing home-related
activities (Jocano, 1988). Sobritchea (1990) reported that girls are still cautioned against
playing boy’s games like larong bola (ball games) and paggala-gala (wandering about). Lim-
Yuzon (1982) observed pre-school girls favoring quiet games (e.g. writing work, puzzles and
on- looker activities) while their male counterparts portrayed superheroes from television.
Gender-neutral play activities like luksong tinik, patintero and taguan were noted as well
(Mendez and Jocano, 1979a). When parents joined in, children reported that mothers played
more “word games” while fathers preferred “strategy games” like chess and
Freedom versus Restrictions. There is a clear difference in the amount of freedom granted to
boys and the degree of restrictions that girls have to cope with (Quiambao, 1965; Mendez
and Jocano, 1979a; Razon, 1981) when it comes to child-rearing. Girls are kept closer to
hearth and home for obvious gender-strereotypical reasons: a girls’ place is the home (De La
Cruz et.al., 1971), she is needed to manage the household (Mendez and Jocano, 1979a),
needs protection. Porio (1994) questions why the same should not apply to boys when male
streetchildren are just as vulnerable to brutality from the police, pimps, pedophiles, drug-
pushers and even bystanders.
Aggression. Parents are reportedly more permissive towards male children when it comes to
handling aggression (Razon, 1981) but sons are constantly warned by mothers not to get into
fights and avoid company who are prone to violence. Nevertheless, the boy-child has to
learn to defend himself and his family honor (Macalandong, et. al., 1977; Mangawit, 1981).
No research was found that looked into how parents handled aggression among girls.
Discipline. Studies of disciplinary practices rarely mention any analysis of gender differences in
the frequency, severity and types of punishment administered to children. But Sobritchea
(1990) found differences in the normative form of punishment for boys (beatings with a
wooden stick) and girls (pinching, slapping and scolding) in two rural villages.
The adolescent years mark a period when the differential treatment of sons and daughters
become more pronounced. At the onset of menarche, the girl-child is subjected to
restrictions like not carrying heavy loads (Jocano, 1970), not taking a bath (Jocano, 1970,
Lagmay, 1983), wash her hair (Jocano, 1988) or wetting her feet (Lagmay, 1983). Themes of
constraint and control carry over in her deportment and relations with the opposite sex.
Although she may be courted (Jocano, 1988), she may not flirt (Mendez and Jocano, 1979a)
or go out unchaperoned (Baylon, 1975). She is urged to be careful and circumspect in
dealing with boys, often without explanation from parents. It is in her adolescent years that
the daughter experiences more severe restraints on her behavior when compared to her
brothers (see Mendez and Jocano, 1979a; Asprer, 1980; Porio, 1994).
4. Differential Family Investment in Daughters and Sons
There is disparity in the distribution of family resources in the rearing of male and female
children. Cabanero (1977) noted that girls were found to require less food expenditures than
males. The incidence of malnutrition in the country has been found to be higher for girls
than boys (Food and Nutrition Research Institute 1989-1990 National Nutrition Survey,
cited in IBON Facts and Figures, 1993). Cabanero’s rural families also spent more on
clothing for male than female children. But Gomez (1988) observed that parents in
Cotobato City allocated more of the family’s clothing budget to their daughters. Cabanero
and Gomez both noted that female children received greater schooling outlays than their
male counterparts. Both concluded that female children were more expensive to raise but
males enjoy greater outlay in terms of family human capital.
5. Differences in the Responsibility Training of Daughters and Sons
Responsibility training is a hallmark of Filipino child-rearing practices, it begins early and
proceeds quite systematically. A child’s responsibilities at home (sent out on errands; Jocano,
1988; caring for younger siblings) increases as he or she gets older. As a result of this
training, children become critical contributors of unpaid household work and child care
(Boulier, 1976). Boulier (1976) noted that the work of older children of both sexes increased
substantially their mothers’ leisure time opportunities. The training continues through
adolescence to prepare the adolescent girls and boys for their future adult roles.
Tasks Assigned to Girls
The diverse tasks assigned to daughters are stereotypically feminine: domestic, indoor, and
nurturant (Licuanan and Gonzalez, 1976; Rojas-Aleta, Silva and Eleazar, 1977; Pineda, 1981;
Shimizu, 1984; Dionisio, 1994). Daughters assist in meal preparation (Baylon, 1975; Jocano,
1976; Mendez and Jocano, 1979a; Estrada, 1983; Lagmay, 1983; Illo, 1988; Illo and
Veneracion, 1988; Jocano, 1988; Sobritchea, 1990), wash and iron clothes (Baylon, 1975;
Lagmay, 1983; Jocano, 1976, 1988; Sobritchea, 1990) and clean the house inside and outside
(Jocano, 1976; Mendez and Jocano, 1979a, Illo, 1988; Jocano, 1988). Gomez (1988) noted
that female children contribute more housework time than males and become independent
at an earlier age in terms of self-care.
Caring for younger siblings is a task expected of daughters. This includes minding, feeding,
rocking infants to sleep and watching over or playing with toddlers and other children
(Baylon, 1975; Boulier, 1976; Popkin, 1976; Jocano, 1976; Mendez and Jocano, 1979a;
Estrada, 1983; Lagmay, 1983; Illo, 1988; Illo and Veneracion, 1988; Jocano, 1988;
Sobritchea, 1990; Ocampo-Go, 1994). Popkin (1976) confirmed that by ages 7 to 15,
daughters act as mother substitutes. Older daughters appear to substitute as well for their
father’s childcare time by relatively large amounts (Boulier, 1976).
Cabanero (1977) noted that Filipino children cease being “welfare recipients” early on their
lives. Girls, as well as boys, actively participate in their families’ means of earning a living:
planting, harvesting, vending, preparing foodstuffs to sell (Jocano, 1988). Cabanero (1977)
found female children of low-wage mothers contributing to family income as early as 9 to 11
years of age, while daughters of middle wage mothers became net producers by ages 15 to 17
years. The National Statistics Office (IBON Facts and Figures, 1996) reported that nearly 1.3
million girl-children are now working.
Tasks Assigned to Boys
The tasks assigned to boys are predominantly those requiring physical strength and
endurance, farther distance from the home and hardly any socio-emotional skills.
Domestic chores revolve around fetching water (Baylon, 1975; Rojas-Aleta and Eleazar,
1977; Licuanan, 1979; Lagmay, 1983; Illo, 1988; Jocano, 1988; Sobritchea, 1990), going to
the corner sari-sari store (Mendez and Jocano, 1979a; Estrada, 1983), sweeping the yard,
lifting the furniture and carrying heavy objects.
Generally, “household chores are not assigned to them unless there are no girls in the
family.” (Mendez and Jocano, 1979a). Furthermore, “…boys are generally excluded from
participating in tasks attributed to as feminine.” (Estrada, 1983), and “…no male is expected
to do household chores which are considered to be female undertaking.” (Ramirez, 1988).
But they also provide some relief to their mothers as boys are required to put in child care
hours when the girls’ services are not available (Lagmay, 1983).
In rural communities, boys assist in the economic activities of their parents in a variety of
ways: guarding against foraging domestic animals, plowing the fields (Mangawit, 1981;
Estrada, 1983; Jocano, 1988; Sobritchea, 1990), herding and pasturing cows and carabaos
(Baylon, 1975; Illo, 1999; Illo and Veneracion, 1988; Jocano, 1988), and caring for livestock
and other domestic animals (Rojas-Aleta et.al., 1977; Mangawit, 1981; Shimizu, 1984).
Sons of fishermen assist by running the motor, paddling (Jocano, 1988; Sobritchea, 1990),
repairing agricultural implements or mending fishing gear.
Among urban streetchildren in Metro Manila and Cebu they watch cars, shine shoes, peddle
cigarettes, newspapers and candies.
Cabanero (1977) found that sons of low-wage and middle- wage mothers represent net
financial gains to their families by ages 12 to 14 years, while high-wage mothers realize
positive returns from their sons at the age of 15 to 17.
Rationale for Gender-Biased Task Assignments
The responsibility training of sons and daughters is seen as preparatory to their assumption
of the conventional masculine role of “head of the family” and feminine role of
“housewife”, thereby safeguarding the status quo and perpetuating society’s patriarchal
standards. However, an alternative view suggests that sons as well as daughters must concern
themselves with the various aspects of household management. Estrada (1983) observed
some mothers in the Tarlac area instructed and encouraged their sons on the proper attitude
and skills in doing household chores regardless of the supposed gender-labeling of these
tasks. Bulatao (1978) found that mothers expected household help equally from daughter
and sons. While both Licuanan (1979) and Illo (1988) concede that there are still differences
in the primary ranked tasks for sons and daughters (as well as for mothers and fathers), they
argue that rarely are the boundaries firm between what men and women can and in fact do.
More contemporary studies like the Mc Cann Erikson survey (1995) have determined that
men (especially those in the middle class) are gradually yielding to the pressure of getting
more involved in domestic chores which used to be only reserved for their wives.
6. Parents as Models: Differences in Child- Rearing Responsibilities of
Mothers and Fathers
A review of the studies shows how Filipino mothers and fathers act differently even when
both are exercising their child-rearing responsibilities. The mother is still ranked as the
primary caretaker of her children (Mendez and Jocano, 1979a; Licuanan, 1979; Lagmay,
1983; Minoza et. al., 1984; UP-CHE, 1985). Hollnsteiner (1979) noted that “…In the rural
areas, the roles of family members are clearly prescribed ... in the urban or urbanized
families, the roles and privileges are less clearly delineated, especially since the mother’s role
has become multifaceted and less structured.” Middle Socio-Economic Status (SES) working
mothers (Sycip, 1982) still carried the greater bulk of the responsibility for the home and the
children. Thus, a majority of the respondents experienced difficulty in combining and
balancing their multiple roles of wife, mother, and worker. Child care time significantly
affected the mother’s leisure time. Gomez (1988) found that children of all ages experiences
longer child care hours from mothers and fathers. It was observed that over-protection was
the most pervasive attitude that mothers exhibit towards their children (Espina, 1996).
The Filipino father’s main role is that family provider. His role as a child caretaker is
considered only secondary. Father’s affection towards their children is limited to carrying
them, talking, and playing with them (Licuanan, 1979). Lapuz (1987) described the Filipino
father as a “…remote person…feeling awkward in getting close (to his sons)”. Discipline is
one aspect of child-rearing where fathers figure prominently; either on their own parental
capacity or in concert with their wives (Porio, Lynch and Hollnsteiner, 1978; Licuanan, 1979;
Lagmay, 1983; Minoza et.al. , 1984; UP-CHE, 1985; David, 1994). Fathers also tend to be
more involved in disciplining older children (David, 1994) and sons rather than daughters
(Porio et.al., 1978). With his role in his domain of discipline, the father –child relationship is
characterized by authority, restriction, obedience and control.
The Girl Child: Who is She and What is She Like?
This section inquires about the possible outcomes of the ways in which Filipino children
were raised and described in terms of behavior, including the social, emotional, cognitive
aspects as well as attitudes and perceptions toward gender-related subjects, and lastly, the
issue on gender identity. A profile of the girl -child is discerned from the various studies as it
concentrated on the girl-child in relation to the boy-child.
Gender Differences in Behavior
Affiliation. The girl-child is known to be more affiliative with friends and family (Alano,
1980; Jimenez, 1983), have a more positive outlook, are warm-hearted and trustful, as
opposed to boys who are more aloof and distrustful (Ramiro, 1978), and less friendly
Emotionality, Stress and Coping. Girls were found to react more emotionally when faced with a
family crisis, feeling more self-pity and misery (Naval, 1979). They were also more
sentimental and prone to jealousy (Espina, 1996). Girls suffer higher level of stress (Feramil,
1989) but do not differ from boys in how they cope. Barrameda (1989) noted that girls from
single-parent homes, more than boys, tend to resort to a passive-hostile type of coping.
Task-persistence. Girls have been judged to be more task-persistent than boys (Asprer, 1980;
Minoza et. al, 1984; Ramirez, 1993), except in Naval’s study (1979) of urban poor children.
Asprer (1980) and Ramirez (1993) explained that this may be the result of parents’
imposition of a stricter regimen of responsibility training as compared to a less stringent one
Aggression. Most gender comparisons on aggression affirm cross-cultural findings that girls
are less physically aggressive than boys (Naval, 1979; Mendez and Jocano, 1979b; Mangawit,
1981; Jimenez, 1982; Minoza, et. al., 1984; Adorio, 1985; Raya, 1986). But both girls and
boys appear to display similar levels of verbal aggression (Minoza et. al. , 1984). Girls were
found to be more punitive than boys in attributing punishment to their parents (Ilan and
Self-concept. Studies do not agree on whether boys and girls view themselves differently,.
Cheng (1995) and Espina (1996) reported that girls have a slightly higher self-concept than
boys while Ventura (1994) found otherwise.
Gender Differences in Abilities
Cognitive Abilities. There are no documented marked differences in boys’ and girls’ “innate”
cognitive abilities (Orejana, 1981; Carza, 1981; Ventura, 1994). However, Ventura (1994)
reported that males related to more analytic, impersonalistic, task-oriented, and field-
independent ways of thinking. In domestic competencies, girls predictably scored higher,
while boys earned better marks for competency in outdoor chores.
Achievement Orientation. There are conflicting findings regarding achievement orientation of
girls and boys. Some studies show that boys tend to project deeper concerns with academic
performance, recognition and achievement (Alano, 1980; Jimenez, 1983). But others have
characterized the adolescent girl as being more strongly driven by achievement motives
(Licuanan, 1971) and academic strivings (Mendez and Jocano, 1976b).
Gender Differences in Attitudes
Attitudes toward Parental Roles. Children perceive their parents differently according to gender-
based parental behaviors and styles. Yan’s (1984) 13 to 21 year old subjects agreed that the
mother should “attend to their children’s clothing and food,” and “see that the children get
to school on time”. They also agreed that the father should “provide for the basic needs of
the family”, and “be a disciplinarian”.
Macrohom (1978)found that female and male adolescents persistently believe that the
husband’s role is to look after the family investment and business and take charge of its
physical security while the wife’s role is family planning and home management. Children
more often turned to their mothers for care and support (Pelino, 1984).
Although only a fraction of Pelino’s (1994) subjects saw discipline as exclusive to the father,
Lagmay (1983) reported that “many of the children show greater submission to him”. Yan
(1984) noted that the father as family disciplinarian was generally accepted across
demographic, economic and socio-cultural groupings. He is also associated with greater
achievement-orientation, as fathers, more often than mothers, encourage both sons and
daughters in their schoolwork (Gamboa, Luciano, Cruz and Laforteza, 1972).
Though the mother is seen as powerful (Carunungan-Robles, 1987), her power appears
confined to the household. A majority of the respondents saw the mothers rather than the
fathers as the locus of household decision-making. This supported “… previous findings
that household and family affairs are seen (by children) as the realm of women than men”
In sum, Filipino children view their parents in gender stereotypical fashion, mirroring the
gender-differentiated parenting they experience from their mothers and fathers.
Attitudes Toward Other Gender Roles. Investigators are unanimous in describing the persistent
stereotyping of other gender roles among children of both genders. Children maintain that
there are occupation types specifically for males or females (only men can work as carpenter,
driver, soldier, policeman, while secretary, teacher or sewer can only be female). De la Cruz’
(1986) subjects saw law and medicine as occupations that can be suitably filled by both
Bantug (1996) observed fewer female respondents than males who believe that either sex
should not be barred from doing traditionally male or female jobs. The female adolescents
believed there are traits that are properly “masculine” and activities that are peculiar to only
males. The male adolescents enumerated activities as being exclusive to males. But the
respondents were convinced the roles of men and women are no changing (Bantug, 1996).
They were aware that more Filipino women today have careers and head their households.
Attitudes Toward Own Gender and the Opposite Gender. Among Filipino children, there seems to
be a more positive attitude towards girls (Pablo, 1971). But when asked whether they would
rather be a boy or a girl, the children in the Flores and Gonzales study (1969), regardless of
gender, preferred to be boys. At an early age, both girls and boys are keenly conscious of the
fact that in our society, being male means being privileged.
Attitudes Toward Sexuality. In general, adolescents believe virginity is still an important virtue
(Zablan, 1995; Bantug, 1996). Fewer girls approved of having sex prior to marriage
compared to boys. There were also fewer girls who claimed to have engaged in pre-marital
sex than boys.
The few studies which focused on gender identity confirm that in the normal course of
gender identity formation, the girl-child and boy-child identify with their same-sex parent.
Mendez and Jocano (1979a) reported that during their childhood years, girls naturally
become closer to their mothers while boys become closer to their fathers. Lapuz (1987)
made the same observation with respect to mother –daughter relationship but took
exception to the father-son relationship. This is supported by the McCann Erickson (1993)
survey which featured the Filipino sons’ complaints of their fathers’ emotional distance and
lack of involvement. Studies of parent-child relationship in the context of gender identity
formation have also observed close cross-sex affiliation between parents and children.
Mendez and Jocano (1979a) noted that fathers were usually fonder of their daughters, while
mothers were fonder of their sons. Cabanero (1977) and Gomez (1988) provided additional
evidence that mothers spent more time with sons at all ages. In Cotobato, infants received
an equal amount of child care time from their mothers regardless of gender. Infant sons,
however, enjoyed relatively more attention from older siblings, relative and domestic helpers
than infant daughters (Gomez, 1988).
Ramirez (1988) described that the Filipino mother as more likely than the father to attach to,
indulge, and even spoil their son. This could be the reason why more boys than girls
experienced difficulty in consolidating their sex –role identity as suggested by the
observation that there were more male than female homosexuals (Asprer, 1980).
Yet even as girls may lose out on their parents’ favor when in competition with their
brothers, they demonstrate more positive attitudes toward their parents than do the boys
(Pablo, 1971). This is understandable given cultural expectations on daughters to be more
unconditionally nurturant and caring.
While the boys and girls both report being closer to their mothers than their fathers (Mendez
and Jocano, 1979b), both (mothers and fathers) are equally loved (Pablo, 1971; Vajanarat,
1973), and the youth continue to name their mothers and fathers as the persons they admire
most (McCann Erickson, 1993). This supports the view that Filipino children easily learn to
spend their affections, attachments, and loyalties to both parental figures (Guthrie and
Jacobs, 1966; Carandang, 1979; Shimizu, 1984).
Synthesis and Discussion
All these studies on girl-child underscore that society’s gender expectations ans parental
socialization practices influence the behaviors, attitudes, and future role of the girl-child.
They revealed that parental gender-related beliefs echo society’s expectations and are
actualized child-rearing practices.
Highlighted are the following points:
*Studies on society’s expectations agree that in Filipino culture, women are expected to be
the main source of care and nurturance for her children. Men, on the other hand, are
expected to be the family’s primary source of financial support.
*In general, Filipino parents have expressed preferences for daughters and sons for various
reasons. Daughters are preferred so they can help in household chores and provide
assistance even when they are already married.
*Parents want their daughters to help in the house, be demure, obedient and friendly, while
sons are expected to be able to defend themselves in a fight, as well as endure physical pain.
*Parents seem to have no differential expectations for their sons and daughters when it
comes to aspirations.
*The empirical evidence reveals that by school age, there is a separation of the sexes which
reinforces in children the differences between males and females.
*In terms of play, rough and physical games are associated with boys while girls often play
indoors with dolls, role playing activities performed in the home. There are some games
enjoyed by both girls and boys.
*It was found that boys are given more freedom while girls are more restricted in terms of
rules for social activities.
*Parents are also more permissive towards male children when it comes to handling
*Most parents believe girls can be more easily disciplined, obey more readily, and learn faster
from their mistakes.
*Studies comparing family investment on boys and girls reported that girls require less food
expenditures, and consequently consume less food. Girls received greater schooling outlays.
*There were differences in assigned tasks between genders when it came to housework and
economic activities of their parents. Girls’ tasks are domestic, indoors and nurturant; boys’
tasks require physical strength, farther from the home, and hardly any emotional skills.
*Parents have also been reported to model traditional gender roles, e.g. mother as the
caretaker of children, father as provider.
*Studies describe the girl-child as more affiliative, emotional, persistent, and stressed
compared to the boy-child. She is less physically aggressive.
*There is expectation that girls be more nurturant and caring for other people, especially
*It is more acceptable for girls to express her emotions while boys are trained not to cry and
to “suffer in silence”.
*Children in both genders agree with traditional gender roles and sex-role stereotyping of
occupations but they also perceive change occurring in this area.
*Both genders agree that being male in Philippine society means having more privileges,
freedom and power.
Based on the literature review, the family continues to be a major site of the gender
socialization of children. The girl-child and boy-child are raised and treated differently within
the family. But the studies do not seem to show that the girl-child is oppressed. She is
treated differently and disadvantaged because of restrictions she has to contend with being
compared with the boy-child.
The girl-child has more responsibilities inside the house as training for the role she is
expected to perform in the future. The boy –child is trained to work outside the house that
prepares and conditions him for a wider range of future vocations. If society continues to
view household work as inferior work, it might be concluded that the girl child is indeed
disadvantaged and restricted in her future options.
Most of the literature reviewed discussed gender only incidentally. Child-rearing studies
rarely used gender as an analytic variable. Studies on gender, on the other hand, did not
emphasize child-rearing and how gender stereotypes and differences develop. The direct
relationship between child-rearing practices and formation of gender roles and stereotypes
has not been established in empirical research. Future investigations should make a
conscious effort to include these variables in the planning, conduct and analysis of research.
Factors which significantly affect gender socialization must also be addressed: peer
socialization, school, church and media.
In light of the study’s findings, recommendations have been prepared for consideration by
institutions involved in child-rearing and gender socialization in the Philippines: the family,
schools, the media, non-governmental organizations and government institutions.
What Parents Can Do
*Develop the attitude that children should be valued equally, regardless of their
gender and functional contributions to the family.
*Maintain gender-free expectations of all family members avoiding gender clichés
such as “boys will be boys” and ‘kasi babae..” (“because she’s a girl…”).
*Encourage both sons and daughters to aspire for the highest of their potential in
their study, work and abilities.
*Teach sons and daughters the sincere expression and resolution of their emotions.
*Select toys that are safe, non-violent, growth-promoting, stimulating and
educational instead of gender-based toys like guns for boys and dolls for girls.
*Encourage children to play a variety of games, cross-cutting gender stereotypes.
*Provide equal time and standards for play, fun, leisure and relaxation both sons and
*Ensure same opportunities for sons and daughters to be curious, to explore, to
discover their interests and abilities and to experiment with various possibilities of
*Adopt gender-free rules and standards of discipline inn the family in all areas of
*Examine the distribution of resources within the family and eliminate gender-based
*Foster an attitude of “our work” which family members can share according to age,
skill and interest and not according to gender.
*Provide responsible sex education using information that is appropriate to the
children’s stage of development.
*Both mothers and fathers should be role models of nurturance and assertiveness.
What Schools Can Do
*Create school environments that are free of gender biases especially against girl-
*Examine and revise school curricula, instructional materials and textbooks that are
still reinforce conventional images and gender biases.
*Proactively create new curricula to improve self-image and the perception of study
and work opportunities for girls especially in fields where women have been
*Promote full and equal participation of girls in extra-curricular activities.
*Utilize Parent-Teacher Associations, individual parent-teacher conferences and the
likes to create parents and caregivers on the responsibilities and values of shared
parenting and gender biases.
*Conduct gender sensitization training for teachers, school administrators and
*Provide full and free access to appropriate health education and counseling for
*Fund and promote more research on child-rearing, especially in families that are
usually underrepresented in such research.
*Fund and promote more research on the situation of the girl-child and require
researchers to disaggregate and analyze the data on children by gender and age.
Lobby for these research findings to be included in policy-making and program
development for the girl-child.
What the Media Can Do
*Reinforce gender-equal child-rearing by portraying plot lines of “alternative”
families instead of traditional child-rearing practices, gender-stereotypes and
*Help educate the public, through feature articles, documentaries, public for a and
discussions on gender equality in child-rearing practices and beliefs.
*Inform and educate the public on the more extreme forms of discrimination against
the girl-child, such as rape, physical abuse, neglect, etc.
*Disseminate information on where to report cases of girl child abuse, exploitation
What Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Can Do
*Help eliminate biased treatment of the girl-child by lobbying the government,
schools and media to project and to promote balanced, non-stereotyped images of
girls and boys.
*Organize and sponsor seminars, symposia and workshops for parents and
caregivers on non-gender biased child-rearing practices and attitudes.
*Help generate awareness on the various forms of discrimination against the girl-
*Require gender-sensitization trainings for those involved in the healing,
rehabilitation and other support programs for girls who have been victimized.
*Demand and participate in regular progress reviews of the situation of the girl
children at international, national and regional levels.
What the Government Can Do
*Encourage and support families and all private sectors in their efforts to promote
gender-equal, child-rearing attitudes and practices.
*Utilize government-required programs such as pre-marital family planning sessions
and counseling to assist future parents in forming more positive, gender-equal
attitudes and child-rearing practices.
*Raise the level of awareness of policy-makers, planners, administrators and
implementors in all areas of the government on the disadvantaged situation of the
*Require all government and publicly- funded research on health, education, labor
and other areas to disaggregate and analyze data by gender and age of children.
*Take firm and concrete measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against the
girl-child. Protect all children by enacting the laws on child labor.
*Review the progress of the situation of the girl-child at national and regional levels