Young Women Speaking the Economy

I.M.O.W. Team

Pang–araw–araw Na Kabuhayan Ng Kababaihan

Here we present images of women in today's Filipino economy. The economic crisis has led women to become active participants in the labor market; many women end up working in the informal sector. These women depict how Filipinas meet their family's basic necessities despite difficult circumstances by being practical and resourceful.

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© Adjie Albiento and Corrine Antonio


The Philippines is a country that struggles to balance its strong cultural traditions with participation in a highly globalized world. Thankfully, despite deeply engrained social constructions, Filipino society empowers women to work and allows women the freedom to exercise their rights. These women are consumers, workers, lovers and caregivers all at once. These women are who we see in the markets, the malls, and in our homes.

So what kind of work do women do in an urban yet developing economy, such as that in the Philippines? In the kind of urban economy depicted in these photos, we can see that women are active in the labor market. Many women have settled into informal work such as selling vegetables that she harvested from her backyard, giving services on the street like treating feet and toenails (pedicure) or treating hands and fingernails (manicure) at a customer's home or along the streets and selling banana-cue (caramelized banana) and kamote-cue (caramelized sweet potato).

Filipina women in urban poor communities are trying their best able to cope with the economic crisis by re-evaluating their skills and capabilities. They no longer want to rely solely on income from their husbands to sustain the family's needs. When the economic crisis hit families in the Philippines, many Filipina women responded by creating jobs for themselves in the informal economy. Some women even began working in positions that were typically performed by men. During a visit to a friend's house in Bulacan, Adjie got a ride on a tricycle (pedi-cab), and she was surprised to see that the driver was a woman. More and more often, women are choosing unexpected lines of work in order to provide for their families.

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