Mary Racelis Ateneo de Manila University Presentation
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    Mary Racelis Ateneo de Manila University Presentation Mary Racelis Ateneo de Manila University Presentation Presentation Transcript

    •   Gender literature generally shows adolescent girls as disadvantaged vis-à-vis adolescent boys   A study of young people’s depictions of their everyday lives in Baseco, an urban informal settlement of 10,000 poor families on Manila Bay.   Adolescent girls show greater determination than boys to remain in school; they hope to complete at least high school and aim for college
    •   23 focus group discussions included 8 FGDs among 14-17 year olds, 4 all-girls and 4 all-boys, in school and out-of-school, in “Village” and “Squatter” sections of the community   The rest of the FGDs covered gay adolescents, teen- aged mothers, young adults 18-25, and specific groups like school officials; their data results are not included here.   This qualitative research was conducted over 8 months in 2009-10. The main field researcher comes from the district and resided in Baseco for three months of intensive interviewing and participant observation.
    •   “Squatter” informal settlement – mostly physically deteriorated landfill area on Manila Bay regularly flooding from heavy rains and tides, leaving stagnant pools, garbage strewn about; fly and mosquito infested, densely packed shanties, irregular street pattern   “Village” – two areas sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and Gawad Kalinga, NGOs which have recently constructed row and single-family housing in regular street patterns utilizing participatory sweat equity approaches.
    •   Men – construction workers, laborers, security guards, truck drivers, vendors, jeepney and tricycle drivers, welders, watch repair, plumbers, carpenters, etc.   Women –sari-sari or variety store, vendors, laundrywomen, street sweepers, domestic helpers/ nannies, make items sold through NGOs, a few bookkeepers-cashiers
    •   Youth – scavenging for plastics and metal; fishing and collecting shellfish from the sea, selling food in neighborhood, construction labor, carrying loads   Most families are below the poverty threshold for the National Capital Region: P8,569 (US$200) in 2008 for a family of 5 (but many families have large family sizes   People’s poverty threshold: poor are those unable to eat regularly three times a day
    •   The Philippines ranks 6th globally in providing equal opportunities for women (World Economic Forum 2007 Gender Gap Report)   As of 2006, there are more Filipino women supervisors and executives than men (2.267 million vs. 2.162 million, respectively)   Businesses having women in senior management positions: globally 59%; Philippines 97%   Philippines shares Southeast Asian pattern of women as traders dominant in small-scale enterprises, holders of cash, and serving as family treasurer
    • FEMALE MALE   Enrollment   Enrollment  Primary 91%  Primary 89%  Secondary 66%  Secondary 55%  Tertiary 32%  Tertiary 26% (UNESCO) (UNESCO)   Attendance rates   Attendance rates  Primary 89%   Primary 88%  Secondary 70%   Secondary 55%
    •   Female qualities: care, nurturance, attention to detail, multi-tasking, perseverance, flexibility, restraint, self-discipline, warm, emotional, trusting, demure, obedient, patient, passive, long- suffering, deferent to husband and catering to his needs, extra care to sons, corresponding self- reliance vis-à-vis herself   Female roles: housewife, household management and decision making in daily activities, household chores, child care, trading and small-scale businesses, obtaining credit and loans; supplementary income earning; home as her base
    •   In poor families: The mother becomes the fallback and enduring partner in the struggle to feed the family and improve the children’s lives when the father cannot or does not fulfill the provider role adequately. She takes the initiative to find ways for the children to survive and improve their lives. Women take on major leadership positions in urban informal settlement community organizations.   Adolescent girls: expected to take on the above traits, with specific roles in caring for younger siblings and doing housework to help mother. Learn from the mother. Go to school as long as possible (for both girls and boys); expectation of parents that their daughters more than sons will support them in their old age.
    •   Male qualities: Physical strength, aggressive, impersonal, analytical, task-oriented rather than emotional, distrusting,   Male roles: head of the family, ensuring family’s economic and physical security, secondary childcare, chores outside the home, disciplinarian, authority figure
    •   In poor families: Men who do not succeed in providing for the family take alternative paths. Few have access to the coveted wage-dominant regular jobs in factories as was once the case. Now pursue multiple low-paying jobs, expecting the wife to cope with whatever income he brings in; engaging in drinking and gambling; frequent arguments at home about money resulting in violence against wife and children, or abandoning the family   Adolescent males: contribute to family income – peddle items on street, scavenge metals and plastic for resale, fish and shellfish from the sea; shine shoes, watch cars; go to school as long as possible, help and learn from father
    •   Negative self-appraisals are stronger than positive, especially for those out of school. Emphasis on their degrading situations and the need for change. Poor, pathetic, deprived of material needs and opportunities, go around almost naked, dirty, scavengers, bums, beggars, petty gamblers, drink and do drugs, hold-uppers, petty crime, violent at early ages, disrespectful to parents and girls, fighting, runaways, live in the streets and die young. Out-of-school hang around all day with gangs/fraternities. Engrossed in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, teen-age sex, boys get girls pregnant young and become fathers/ mothers very young. Enjoy being in crowds in a wild environment, war/violence freaks, love to experiment and try out new things.
    •   Strong commitment to helping their parents earn. Taken for granted by parents, exposed to dangerous environment—vices, crime. Some are involved in church activities, have direction in life and God in their hearts, but others have lost their fear of God. They are unguided, lost, and see little hope for the future. Work at an early age, exploited by some parents.   On positive self-assessments, they earn for and are close to their family. Many are kind, respectful, dependable in time of need. As the hope of the fatherland (national hero Jose Rizal’s statement), they should be saved from drugs and worries and enjoy life. Since they love to explore, experiment, and seek adventure, they should be free. They should be able to eat at least once or twice a day. They should not be working but going to school. Both boys and girls should aim to bring progress to Baseco, strive for their own betterment, and have dreams as future leaders.
    •   About 20% of boys and 40% of girls in Baseco are “good.” They don’t do drugs, smoke, or engage in sex. They get proper attention from parents, maintain their dreams and aspirations, and choose the right kinds of friends. Some are God-fearing, but many, not. Some wander aimless about because they’re hungry and can’t even think anymore.   Girls are critical of their peers, but say boys raise more problems than girls: about 80% of boys behave badly, and about 60% of girls. Girls want to avoid the fate of poor women like their mothers who work as domestic helpers or are plain housewives with no significant earnings. They hope to avoid becoming pregnant through premarital sex.
    •   In-school girls emphasize closeness to family and to God; importance of schooling, studying seriously and being respectful of parents; out-of-school girls are more resentful of their situation, which they blame largely on parents too poor to send them to school. Youth are the future of the country, people you can rely on; but some destroy that hope by not taking their studies seriously. Youth remain the hope of their parents who did not get much schooling and have been hard up most of their lives. By studying and finishing school (preferably college), the youth can help their parents by getting good jobs and supporting the family.
    •   Yet many do drugs, drop out of school, cut classes, are undisciplined, hang around especially at the playground where they make trouble; into sex, rugby, marijuana, cigarettes, drinking and computer games if they can afford it; have babies when still young but still go out for fun as though they weren’t parents. The dropouts don’t work or respect their elders, criticizing them, demanding money for glue sniffing and other vices, and yelling at their parents when they can’t get money; corresponding beatings from father and slaps from mother. They work selling fish, vegetables, etc. when they shouldn’t be working but studying. But where there’s life, there’s hope. They are at an age where they know the difference between right and wrong.
    •   Out-of-school boys are more critical of their parents than in-school boys.   Out-of-school: critical of family but committed to serve it nonetheless. Youth say they join gangs and fraternities and behave disrespectfully even belligerently at home because of parents who generate conflicts within the family—domestic violence, exploitation, and giving bad examples (especially the father) by not carrying out their duties and obligations. Although youth are willing to help the family by working while also earning their own schooling expenses, some parents exploit them by making them do most of the work and take on responsibilities that are too difficult or demanding at their age. Nonetheless, virtually all express concern for their parents whom they see suffering, calling for them to help out. Parental absence brings misery to a child’s life. Parents should be there to guide and take care of them and in return bring out their children’s respect, honor and help. Youth resent not experiencing a genuinely nurturing family life.
    •   In-school: more positive, less critical of family Importance of family stems from its nurturing and taking care of youth; in return, the latter should take care of parents in old age. Family is a haven: a place where youth can voice out problems and feel relief. It renders a sense of completeness, identity, unity, and harmony. Without a family, life is sorrowful. It is a source of inspiration and hope in the midst of poverty; offers love, cooperation; helps achieve one’s dreams and inspires children to work harder and avoid vices. It is undermined by conflict and criminal activities. It should be intact; a broken family is no longer a family.
    •   Family is central to adolescent wellbeing. Family and parents are the most important persons in their lives. Children need to help parents especially the mother by earning; better if can get a high-paying job, possibly if finish college. Parents too often restrict girls; dislike their going out with friends. Sometimes parents/ fathers punish them by hitting them or forbid their going out, but they recognize that guidance and discipline are parental roles. Youth object when punishment too severe.
    •   Out-of-school: They do menial jobs whose earnings are turned over to the family except for a portion left for their own use (food) and personal use (drugs, cigarettes). Working is seen as a natural part of their role as a household member since their parents are clearly unable to provide for their family. Helping out gives them a sense of self-worth and happiness. But they resent having to drop out of school to work fulltime at a young age.
    •   In-school: Working while studying, to support the family, is often resented but is a must despite sometimes hazardous working conditions, e.g., one young worker who dives in the sea in search of scrap metals recoils at having to contend with human feces every time he surfaces. At night his fear intensifies for fear of a shark attack. Nonetheless, he cannot stop as he needs to earn. Since he gets little sleep at night, he feels sleepy in school which affects his learning and grades. Most work during their free time after school, mainly on weekends. This becomes even more imperative if the father is dead or has disappeared, and the mother is getting old and less able to earn.
    •   Out-of-school girls have low opinions of themselves. They believe they can become only domestic helpers or nannies or stay-at-home helpers of their mothers. Or later they can become bar girls/Guest Relations Officers, which can also mean moving into commercial sex work. Most try to earn by collecting shellfish to eat or sell in the community; others become pickpockets or snatchers (cell phones, wallets)
    •   All have a high regard for education as a means to a good life and a stepping stone to that future. It means being able to afford decent meals everyday and provide for the family, in particular their suffering parents. For a few it brings knowledge that will last forever. Most of those who drop out of school do so owing to poverty as well as the influence of their peers. Engaging in vices and cutting class are common activities while in school. They envy their friends who have continued schooling, leaving them behind. Some, however, give little value to education, saying that even if one were to finish high school, he still could not land a good job. Hence, if he cannot complete college—and few in Baseco actually do—male students figure that there is little lost in dropping out much earlier and working fulltime instead. Being able to read and write is enough under the circumstances.
    •   Important as a means to help parents and the family more than personal advancement or knowledge; education means they will not be poor, discriminated against or looked down on; brings respect and honor; enables them to deal confidently with higher class people.   Family financial problems prevent them from continuing their education; can’t afford transportation or expenses for projects; teachers throw them out of class for failing to submit projects (often requiring use of commercial computer kiosks); so students just cut class if they’re unprepared. Out-of-school girls are more likely to get into vices and pregnant since they just hang around.
    •   “Village”: new life of dignity, not “squatters” anymore; place is better-looking; improved housing and paved streets   “Squatter” area still smells, dirty with feces all over, smell of the place sticks to people’s bodies. Dances being held are good but often lead to trouble afterwards. Violence has also increased in the new playground with rumbles and crime since youth congregate there as a place for fraternities to flourish and exert their presence. Adults are critical but do little beyond scolding them; local official take punitive action. Youth only recognized are good when they do community clean-ups, sports festivals, hold dances.
    •   Those in the “Village” with better houses in neater settings feel a sense of pride. Outsiders don’t look down on us anymore.   “Squatter” area still in disarray. But people remain poor in both areas. Some girls scavenge in Divisoria market nearby. Chronic hunger means always having to search for food; lack of water means rare baths, which makes other shun you. The playground construction has given young people a chance to congregate, often for bad reasons. As it is dark at night, sex, drugs, and violence prevail.
    •   Boys: Greater expectation that boys should earn for the household, but working is often not compatible with school requirements.   Girls: Girls’ roles fulfilled if they do household chores and help mother’s small business enterprise, so they have more leeway to remain in school.
    •   Boys: Active-aggressive qualities expected of boys encourage them to join neighborhood gangs or fraternities which become central to their world and their identity more than school; fits in with socialization of boys as roaming more freely, negotiating alliances and working our relationships with girls.   Girls: Expected home-based settings of girls limit their activities in the neighborhood; hence, their insistence at being outside with their friends (girls and boys) is a constant source of contention with their parents. Negotiating relationships with boys is a recurring theme— experimenting with sex but fear of pregnancy.
    •   Global competitiveness is moving major cities heavily into service sector economies—hotels, restaurants, resorts, transport, tourism, spas, beauty parlors, malls, nightclubs, banking, insurance, etc. In addition, nursing and care giving open up work opportunities abroad, especially for women. These job openings require persons with good managerial skills, organization and planning ability involving attention to detail, financial discipline, and multitasking—all qualities associated with traditional Filipino female upbringing.
    •   Baseco adolescent girls have learned these basic traits from their mothers, who serve as role models in household management and survival, often through small-scale trading and more recently, micro-enterprises through credit programs. These traits have now been internalized in the global business economy and government. Women have moved heavily into these domains. Baseco girls see these young women role models on TV and through their schooling. They are more motivated than their male peers to take school seriously. Graduating from college or getting as close to it as possible is the ideal for which they strive. Teen-aged (single or married) mothers recognize that this will be their life, which will relive the life of their mother in a poverty-stricken family.
    •   Baseco boys internalize the traditional value than men should be the major earner and breadwinner in the family. But since they see limited evidence of that in their own lives, judging from the male role models in society, they realize how few options there are for men in the formal economy. Although men’s skills are best utilized in government jobs with strong political leanings, the better jobs embody civil service qualifications; those applying for low-skilled jobs as watchmen and janitors require “pull” to be selected. Drug-related and criminal gangs offer growing options for low-skilled, low-education young men. Although many adolescent boys persevere in school, peer pressures and societal forces enter in to decrease the morale of many about pursuing their studies.
    •   While gender roles in the sense of power relations between men and women / boys and girls continue to follow traditional courses in family relations of male authority (VAW), changes in the larger economic world are giving women and therefore girls more options and aspirations to move into the formal work environment with its higher earning possibilities. This continuity affects the motivation and self-esteem of both boys and girls, with Baseco girls showing greater optimism about and determination to stay in school, while boys are more easily discouraged, distracted and drop out, lured by their peers into gang and drug activities. Eventually, they move full-time into the earning-for-the-family imperative
    •   There is need for:  Practical skills training courses in high school and job placement programs that will enable boys especially but also girls to earn while going to school; ICT training opens up many new possibilities.  Expanded scholarship programs for poor adolescent boys and girls to finish high school and gain skills that will enable them to work and maintain the option of going to college.
    •   There is need for:  Government-Community-School programs that sustain the girls’ motivation to persevere in school as well as generate rescue strategies for boys (skills, income, values) to prevent their dropping out and not having to rely on gangs to establish their identity and self-esteem.  Addressing poverty, secure tenure and housing issues, earning capacities and opportunities for parents so that they can provide continuing support to their children’s education.
    • Photo credits The authors wish to acknowledge, with gratitude, the sources of the ff. Baseco photographs. They are not for reproduction, publication, or web posting without the photographers’ and website developers’ consent. Copyright belongs to them. Don Sevilla. From Troyski d true. From Mio Cade. From troyski d true. From C.B. Foster. From J. De Vera. From Don Sevilla. From Don Sevilla. From Mitz Lanuza. From
    • Photo credits The authors wish to acknowledge, with gratitude, the sources of the ff. Baseco photographs. They are not for reproduction, publication, or web posting without the photographers’ and website developers’ consent. Copyright belongs to them. BBC UK. From Habitat for Humanity RP. From Bulatlat. From baseco_fire12..jpg Mio Cade. From Webzer. From Troyski d true. From Don Sevilla. From *eMoslck's. From Don Sevilla. From JMWR. From