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- Category: Philippine Culture
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The father is the principal breadwinner and nominal head of the family. His income is the basis of its economic security. Although the mother shares in the exercise of authority and helps make decisions, the father has the final say.
The male establishes outside, contacts to enhance the family economy and to ally himself with powerful and influential individuals either within or outside the extended kinship group. He is expected to make the right personal contacts to help his grown children find satisfactory jobs. He provides leadership in determining the goals and aspirations of his family. His activities are thus on factors outside the home.
The wife has not deviated much from the traditional role of homemaking, rearing children, and managing the household. Whatever success the children may achieve is usually attributed to her; her association with the children is closer than the father's.
If the couple aspires to a higher standard of living than the income of the husband can provide, she augments the income by engaging in household industry, starting a “sari-sari store”, acting as a sales agent for some commercial goods raising hogs and/or poultry on a modest commercial scale, running a restaurant, or opening an import-export agency. Numerous tasks challenge her creativeness and business acumen, and the Filipina is known for her competence as a small business entrepreneur.
If a college graduate, the wife often has full-time professional employment as a doctor, dentist, or office worker. She can be away from home since elderly relatives, such as the grandmother or a spinster sister can take care of the younger children. Domestic (katulong) relieve her of household chores. However, in addition to her office or professional work she is still expected to care for the children and home and cater to her husband. The employment of the wife outside the home is welcome as long as her income is supplementary and he views her work as secondary to her home.
The strength and influence of the mothers management of the home lies in her control of the finances. The husband expected to turn over his paycheck to the wife, who, in turn, gives him his personal allowance. The wife thus has a feeling of emotional security-knowing her husband has limited money he is less likely to be attractive to other women.
The Filipino woman occupies a unique position compared to her Asian counterparts. Although her social status follows that of her husband, she is highly regarded. An insult to her is an affront to the family honors her husband and children do not criticize her in public. She is her husband's equal and only by tradition and inclination does she subordinate herself to her husband. Usually, no matter how weak her husband's personality or competence, she projects his image as superior. Her strong influence in the family matters and her high position come not by demands, but by gentle persuasion and seeming submission.
The ideal role and expectations are not always realized. When husbands fall short of their duties and indulge in irresponsibility, immorality, or vice, it is the woman's lot to be self sacrificing for her family and make up for her husband's deficiencies. The reverse may also happen but probably less frequently.