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Base de données d'évaluation

Evaluation report

PHI 1999/800: How to Raise Our Daughters and Sons: Child-Rearing and Gender Specialization in the Philippines

Author: Conception, A.; Liwag, D.; de la Cruz, A. S.; Macapagal, E. J.; Ateneo Wellness Center

Executive summary


Child-rearing practices and its relation to gender socialization are prevalent issues in the Philippines. Not much research work has been done that focuses on the issue of how gender roles are formed and learned by children. Thus, UNICEF Manila commissioned the Ateneo Center for Child and Family Research and Development (ACCFRD) to pioneer a study investigating these specific issues. The research was conducted from April to June of 1997.

Purpose / Objective

This research surveyed the literature on Filipino child-rearing practices as they relate to the development of children's gender identity and roles. Specifically, the research aimed to:
- Describe Filipino child-rearing attitudes, beliefs, expectations and practices from early childhood to early adulthood (0 -18 years), 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, both boys and girls
- Assess critically these child-rearing practices in terms of their contribution to the disadvantages and discriminations experienced by the Filipina girl-child


A comprehensive library search was conducted of both published and unpublished local primary sources on Filipino child-rearing. This included materials from 1970-1997, a three-decade span that was considered appropriate for analyzing trends in Filipino child-rearing attitudes and practices related to gender role development. This resulted in a collection of 131 empirical and conceptual papers on which an in-depth content analysis was undertaken. The findings from these studies were analyzed to identify common patterns or themes.

Key Findings and Conclusions

The review found that specific expectations of masculine and feminine behaviors exist in Philippine society. These expectations provide the cultural perspective on the way womanhood is defined in Filipino culture. Gender behavior was mirrored and perpetuated in the family in six socialization areas, including:
- parental preferences for children of one gender or another
- what parents expect of their daughters in contrast to what they expect of their sons
- how parents raise their daughters in contrast to how they raise their sons
- how families invest their resources unequally upon daughters and sons
- the types of differential responsibility training given to daughters and sons
- parental modeling as indicated by differences in the child-rearing behaviors of mothers and fathers

Lastly, differences were found in the attitudes, abilities, self-images and behaviors of Filipino girls and boys. These are the inferred outcomes of the gender socialization they had experienced in their families (and reinforced by other societal institutions such as schools and the media).

The review affirmed the role of the family as the major site of gender socialization of Filipino children. The findings make it clear that the girl-child and boy-child are treated differently in the course of psychological development from infancy to adolescence, in accordance with parents' gender expectations that mirror society's own prescriptions for what is appropriately masculine and feminine behaviors.

Specifically, in the average Filipino family, the girl-child experiences many restrictions on her behaviors in the areas of gender segregation, play, aggression, disciplinary practices and her developing social and sexual interests during adolescence. She may be seen as disadvantaged because of the constraints she has to contend with compared to the boy-child. The girl-child is also given more tasks and chores inside the house because of the expectation that household work is primarily a female responsibility. If society continues to view household work as inferior work, then it might be concluded that the girl-child is socialized to be limited in her future occupational options. In sum, throughout all these socialization domains, the girl-child is trained and conditioned on the gender stereotypes that would henceforth shape her identity, roles and abilities, values and attitudes, and her future.


Parents should be made aware of discrimination based on gender and should be educated on the rights of children to have equal opportunities for leisure, recreational, vocational, educational and cultural activities. Families should adopt gender-free rules in the family in all areas of behavior (study time, work time, parent-child relationships, etc. ) and apply the same standards of discipline. The same standard of living should be maintained for male and female children.

Schools should support families' gender-equal child-rearing practices by creating environments that are also free of gender biases, especially against girl-children. School curricula, instructional materials especially textbooks, should be examined and revised whenever gender biases are present. School-sponsored parent education programs should be utilized to educate parents and caregivers on the attitudes and practices that create homes that are free of gender biases.

The media should continue to educate the public on the rights of children and reinforce gender-equal child-rearing by opposing the portrayal of families whose child-rearing practices discriminate on the basis of gender.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) should help eliminate the biased treatment of the girl-child at home, in schools and in the media by lobbying the government, the media and educational sectors to project and promote balanced and non-stereotyped images of girls and boys. They should organize and sponsor seminars, symposia and workshops on non-gender biased child-rearing for parents and caregivers

The government should support families, the school, the media and non-governmental organizations in their efforts to promote gender-equal child-rearing attitudes and practices. Government-required programs such as the mandatory pre-marital family planning sessions and counseling should be utilized as an opportunity to educate future parents on gender-equal child-rearing values and practices. It should also raise the level of awareness among policy makers, planners, administrators and implementors in all areas of the government on the disadvantaged situation of the girl-child.

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