Good education is one of the most high regarded value here in the Philippines. Regardless of gender, we are all given equal opportunity to grow as successful and competent people. The difference lies on the values upheld by each community. As small as our country is, we are composed of different regions and islands. These differences are further influenced by different beliefs and ethnic origin. What is valued for us as urban Catholic girls are different from our counterparts in the rural areas with different religious and cultural beliefs.
Here, it is stereotyped that women must have the great home and livelihood skills regardless where you are settled. We are sent to school and is encouraged to finish college, however, we were given the idea that since we are to be future mothers, we have to be excellent homemakers and if our future partner’s income isn’t enough for the family, we have to think of creative ways to earn a living to help our family.
Cultural traditions and beliefs are so different from region to region, minority groups and religion. We believe that man should be the great family provider. Women should only work when they want to be successful. We do not look down upon full-time mothers; in fact we envy them because as mothers we feel we have to rear our children ourselves.
The negative side of that is, since we have a patriarchal culture, some men think that since they are the head of the family, their decisions prevail. The whole family’s fate depends on the decision made by the father. In some rural communities, because of poverty, girls stay home and be taught and do house work while boys go to school. If they are fortunate enough to be sent to school up to college, they are even encourage to take stereotyped “women” courses like education, nursing and culinary courses. These courses are suggested to them so can go abroad and work to send money to their families. In other cases, if men in the rural areas can’t provide well for their families, the girls or women are sent to the city to become domestic helpers. In some cases, they would be encouraged to marry off a boy from a well-to-do. Once this happens, in some instances, the family of the girl would feel privilege and expect the girl and her newly found husband to help her family or sometimes worse, support them. They are even accused of being ingrates if they are not able to help them.
In the cities, however, it is the exact opposite. More women are driven to be independent and become the women they want to be. They know their rights and they have great ambition for themselves. If rural, counterparts and settled to finish elementary or high school because of poverty, urban girls would do anything to finish their education. Some go to school in the morning and works at night time in fast food chains and call-centers. They even plan to take post-graduate courses because they want to become a successful executive in a prestigious company. In spite of these goals, women still give high regard to becoming good mothers to their children.
What ambition city girls have is very much looked upon as aggressiveness by non-city folks. The lack of respect to one’s aspirations are brought to the city, thus, influencing so many others making them feel satisfied where they are. This belief and lack of interest makes them more vulnerable to injustice On the other hand, when they become driven, they are told that they are "too ambitious for a woman."
There is a great disparity between our city girls and rural girls and this should stop. Equal rights to educational opportunities should be given. Girls should be appropriately equipped with skills in relation to their goals in life. If they don't intend to go to college, they should be given technical courses which are very vital in the rural communities. This should be done to maximize their potential and become successful where they want to go.
As for me, I am fortunate that I was given an opportunity to get good education and become successful in my chosen field. My parents valued education specially for us girls. For them, us women should be educated well enough to become self-reliant, help the community and prosper in our chosen field.Girls Transform the World 2013