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Financial woes move more women to work, provide for family

By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
March 6, 2012

CEBU CITY  –  Lady Canonigo, 45, used to stay at home doing the household chores while her husband is working. But times have change, prompting Lady Canonigo to find work to help her husband in feeding their four children.

With the unstable income of her husband who works as a contractual driver, Canonigo decided to earn an income selling fish in Barangay Tangke, Talisay City.

Now, through the combined hard work of Canonigo and her husband, two of their four children will receive their college diploma this month.

“If I stayed in the house, doing laundry and cleaning, I don’t think my children would have finished their studies,” she said in Cebuano.

Canonigo, a client of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Micro-finance, is among the increasing number of women who is assisting their spouses to provide for the family amid the challenging financial times.

This does not mean, though, that men should feel weak with the changing roles of women today, according to sex and gender development sociologist Aldwin Empaces.

“Both husband and wife can benefit with this change. The nurturing instinct is developed among men and leadership skills among women,” Empaces said in an interview with Pagtuki, the official radio program of RAFI aired every Saturday at 10-11 a.m. over dyLA.

In celebration of Women’s Month in March, Pagtuki featured women entrepreneurs.

Empaces pointed out that stereotyping on the roles of women and men should not have a place in this generation.

“What we need is a place for acceptance of change. We have not reached that level of total acceptance. We are still in the stage of complete tolerance. There should be no concept like ‘lalaki dapat..., babaye dapat...’. The acceptance should begin at home,” he said.

He said that what is nice with the Filipino culture is its openness to change in terms of gender development.

Canonigo admitted that her husband was reluctant in letting her open her business. “Maybe it was his pride which made him reluctant, because he believes that a man should provide for his family. In the end, he agreed,” she recalled in Cebuano.

One factor that brought the shifting of role of women is the economic challenges in the society, said Empaces. The current economy demands that one breadwinner in the family isn't enough, he added.