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Divergence of Gender Role Experiences between Couples form Urban and Rural communities: A Qualitative Study

“Gender role differences between Rural and
Urban communities”
"People share a common nature but are
trained in gender roles."
-Lillie Devereux Blake
All men and women are born equal.
All men and women are born similar.
However men and women are differently
distributed into social roles because of
humans’ evolved physical sex differences and
society’s circumstances and culture (Eagly &
Wood, 2012). However, often times issues
found common in the concept of gender.
First and foremost, what is gender and
how is it different from sex? The word gender
has been used since the 14th century as a
grammatical term, referring to classes of
noun designated as masculine, feminine, or
neuter in some languages. The sense denoting
biological sex has also been used since the
14th century, but this did not become
common until the mid-20th century. Although
the words gender and sex are often used
interchangeably, they have slightly different
connotations; sex tends to refer to biological
differences, while gender more often refers to
cultural and social differences and sometimes
encompasses a broader range of identities
than the binary of male and female. (Oxford
Dictionary, n.d.)
Although there are various issues
surrounding gender, this study focuses solely
on gender role differences between rural and
urban areas. Gender roles have been
described as society’s shared beliefs that
apply to individuals on the basis of their
socially identified sex and are thus closely
related to gender stereotypes (Eagly, 2009)
that can eventually lead to gender inequality.
For instance, women are expected to dress in
typically feminine ways and be polite,
accommodating and conservative. While men
are generally expected to be strong,
aggressive, insensitive and bold.
Gender role beliefs arise because people
observe female and male behaviour and infer
that the sexes possess corresponding
dispositions. Thus, men and women are
thought to possess attributes that equip them
for sex-typical roles. These attributes are
evident in consensually-shared beliefs, or
gender stereotypes. (Eagly & Woody, 2012).
A study by Camaya & Tamayo (2018)
revealed that girls as young as six years old
from Kalanguya tribe were taken along the
field or the forest to learn about kaingin and
planting. Men and women experience
differences in perception in the workplace
(Scott, 2015).
As studied by Sumanjeet (2017)
traditional patriarchal customs and norms
have relegated women to a secondary status
within the household and workplace. In the
past, women had fewer opportunities in
economic opportunities and had less access
to education due to the society's culture and
In daily life, people carry out these
gender roles as they enact specific social roles
because gender roles seem to reflect innate
attributes of the sexes, they appear natural
and inevitable. With these beliefs, people
construct gender roles that are responsive to
cultural and environmental conditions yet
appear, for individuals within a society, to be
stable, inherent properties of men and
women (Eagly & Woody, 2012).
Therefore, the traditional view of the
feminine gender role prescribes that women
should behave in ways that are nurturing.
One way that a woman might engage in the
traditional feminine gender role would be to
nurture her family by working full-time
within the home rather than taking
employment outside of the home. Men, on the
other hand, are presumed by traditional
views of gender roles to be leaders.
Assignment of social roles based on gender is
a consequence of cultural-religious
interpretations and historical and
environmental factors (Hofstede et al., 2012).
However, gender role expectations does
not only affect women negatively just because
there are limited studies concerning men's
experiences and opinions in regards to
gender stereotypes. Singhal (2015) stated in
his study that women empowerment means
to increase women's power, not to decrease
men's power.
Due to this the researchers seeks to
answer questions "Are gender roles different
here in the city and in the province?" and
"How gender stereotypes affect their lives.”
This can be done by conducting an interview.
In the case of the respondents in rural areas
they should at least be 30-60 years old, and
should be a resident there from birth and vice
Every society, ethnic group and culture
has gender role expectations, but they can be
very different from group to group. They can
also change over time and this is why the
researchers seek to know how different the
gender roles here in the urban from the rural
This study would greatly benefit both
genders in the sense that women will be
enlightened that they are not the only gender
that is experiencing pressure from gender
roles, and men's experiences and
perspectives would be heard resulting in a
lesser practice of gender stereotyping since
both genders would be aware that gender
role expectations is an issue that affects us all
not just one gender exclusively.
Research design
The design of this study is a qualitative
approach specifically used Narrative as a
method in investigating the differences
between Gender roles in Urban and Rural
areas and used transcribed interviews as the
research tool in conducting the study.
Furthermore, this study seeks to know how
different Gender role in Rural and Urban
Research Participants
A number of four suitable respondents
were selected for the study and was divided
according to gender. The selected
respondents were required to fulfil the given
criteria to be allowed to participate: (a) must
be 30-60 years old (b) must be in a
relationship (c) can communicate using
Cebuano, Tagalog, and English languages (d)
willingness to participate for the study (e) has
the ability to answer the given questions for
the study.
Research Environment
This study was conducted at Gabi,
Cordova for Rural areas and Careta, Cebu City
for Urban areas wherein it's deemed
convenient and easy for data collection and
identify potential participants.
An interview guide questionnaire was
made as a reference in gathering the data for
the study. It contained questions on the
respondents background such as gender, age,
family, socio-economic status and place of
The respondents were referred by the
researcher’s classmates that came from Gabi,
Cordova for Rural areas and Careta, Cebu City
for Urban areas. The researcher’s provided
consent forms and explain the study to the
selected respondents. To begin the interview
the respondents were asked about their
personal background. After, they were asked
to answer the interview questionnaire that
contained about the study and their
experiences in Gender Role differences.
Follow up questions was executed to each
respondent to acquire and obtain more
knowledge about their experiences for the
study which has done to the places where
they feel secure and comfortable in doing the
interview. The whole interview was audiorecorded and given by the consent of the
respondents before the beginning of the
Data analysis
For the qualitative data, analysis had
begun following the initial interviews. Each
taped interview was reviewed following its
completion and transcribed verbatim. The
material is subjected to narrative analysis. It
values the particular and the subject's
experience of being a part of it. The
researchers analyses the form, content and
contexts within which the story unfolds,
structured either chronologically or as critical
incidents. The transcript was read for a
number of times and certain statements,
phrases or words were extracted from the
transcriptions. Coherent themes and ideas
were organized under observing and
analysing the participants answers.
This section presents the findings of the
study involving two (2) adult Cebuano
couples’ perception regarding gender role
assignments. Using a purposive snowball
sampling, a total of 4 participants were
identified to provide a complete
understanding of the study.
Description of the sample
Participants for the study were couples
from urban and rural communities with an
age range of 30 to 60 years old. One of them is
married with each other for 7 years. While
the other pair is not married but has been
living in the same roof for 4 years.
Thematic analysis
Upon analyzing the data gathered from
the participants, several themes emerged
which were then grouped into major themes
capability and household, and after were then
subdivided into superordinates.
Capability here refers to both gender’s
ability to do something such that some roles
of women can be assumed by men, both
genders are equal in terms of workload,
both genders are capable, and women are
catching up, but it also refers to the
limitations of one gender for example there
are jobs that women cannot do because of the
physical demands of the work, while, the
thing that men cannot do is delivering a
On the other hand, household refers to
the issues that arose within the couples’
home such as misconception towards roles
of women at home for example housewives
tend to have more work than men,
husband’s perception towards childcare,
difficulties when one of the parents is
working, financial challenge, the
importance of having an agreement when it
comes to equal division of work in
household and how vital it is to have
understanding and respect with one another
when these problems arise.
Both genders are capable refers to the
ability of women doing tasks that were once
considered for men only. During the
interview, one male respondent from the
rural community named Renato Allego Jr.
pointed this out.
“Ang ma buhat sa laki, mabuhat ra sad sa
babay.” (P1, line 18-19)
“What can be done by men, can also be
done by women.”
“Wala man gyuy mabuhat sa laki nga dili
mabuhat sa babay gud.” (P1, line 26)
“No work is done by men that women
cannot do.”
One good example of this is how women
are also into jobs like welding and carpentry
“Ang kaniadto man gud, ang buhat sa
laki… like kana bitawng magwelding so
kasagaran ang laki man gud na siya...
kumpara nato karon diba makita ninyo
daghan napong babay nga magwelding
napud?” (P1, line 13-16)
“In the past, we often saw men doing jobs
like welding, but compared before we now see
a lot of female welders right?”
“Unsay trabaho sa laki pwede manggud ta
trabahuon sa babae.. Nowadays makita
nato..babay magpanday noh? Naay karpentero
nga babay.” (P1, line 53-55)
“What can be done by men, can also be
done by women. Nowadays, we see a lot of
female carpenters.”
According to Renato, women are
catching up.
Women are catching up means that
women now are striving to improve in order
to be at the same league with men.
“Dili man gyud permi ang laki naa ra gyud
sa ibabaw.. mogukod gyud na ang babay.”
(P1, line 30-31)
“It’s not always that the man is at the top,
the woman will catch up eventually.”
Some roles of women can be assumed
by men refers to the tasks that are
traditionally for women, but can also be done
by men. Geraldine, who is Renato’s wife, was
asked if there are also female activities that
can be done by men to which she answered
yes, and then gave an example.
puyo sa bata sa tiyan di na maoy mouton
(chuckles).” (P1, line 59-61)
“The only thing that a woman cannot do,
wait I mean man is that they cannot bear a
baby, they are not the one who pushes out the
baby (chuckles).”
And according to Julito Cantiprado, a
respondent here in the city, his wife will not
be able to do his job because of the physical
demands of his work.
“Akong trabaho, dili jud na siya kakaya
sakung trabaho kay physical man.”
(P2, line 196-197)
“She really cannot do my job because it is
so physically demanding.”
Nevertheless, despite these limitations
the participants think that both genders are
equal in terms of workload.
“Syempre oy makaya kung kayahon.. oh
pareha sa kuan inun anang paglaba makaya
man gai sa babay.. makaya pud na sa lalake.
(P1, line 35-36)
“Para nako patas, patas gyud siya… oh patas
na jud.” (P1, line 23)
“Of course it possible if you just try. Just
like laundry, women can even do it, so surely
men can also.”
“Balance raman” (P2, line 187)
“Nay buhatonon sa babae nga mabuhat sa
laki.” (P1, line 180-181)
“There are female activities that men can
also do.”
However, despite both genders efforts to
be on the same league with each other there
are still limitations. As said by Geraldine, the
thing that men cannot do is delivering a
“Ang dili ra mabuhat sa babae dai aw sa
lalaki dai ang mabuhat sa babay dai ang
pagpanganak ra gyud di na sila maoy mag
“For me it it is fair. Yes, it is fair.”
“It’s balance.”
There are a lot of misconceptions that
people have to deal with. And one of them is
the misconception towards roles of women
at home. It is often misunderstood that
women should stay at home and the husband
is the one who works for a living. In addition,
people think that women/housewives who
stay at home do not do very much to which
the female participants disagreed saying that
housewives tend to have more work than
“Sayop gyud nang concept sauna nga ang
babay bilin ra gyud sa balay.” (P1, line 49-50)
“The concept that women should stay at
home is wrong.”
“Example aning asawa na dara sa balay
na daghan jud ang trabahoon sad. E compare
nila nga usa ra unya diri sa balay daghan
kaayu tag trabahoon, makaana bitaw na mas
lahi jud ang lalake kaysa sa babae kay ang
babae daghan og trabaho.” (P2, line 239-242)
“Take for example, a housewife. A
housewife has a lot of things to do. People
compare our tasks to people with only one job,
when in fact there a lot of things that needs to
be done at home. So it is safe to say that men
and women are really different because women
have a lot more things to do than men.”
Yet, despite disagreeing to the concept of
women staying at home. There are
circumstances to which the woman has to
stay at home. Especially with the husband’s
perception that the mother should be the
first hand to take care of the child.
“Di man sad ko ganahan nga lain ang
mobatod sa bata gud kay gusto nako nag
inahan gyud mismo, mao mo batod sa mga
bata.” (P1, line 71-73)
“I don’t want other people to take care of
my children. I personally want their mother to
take care of them.”
He also added that it is important for
couples to have an agreement to what roles
they need to assume.
“Gisabotan gyud na namo siya nga inana
ang among ahh sitwasyon.” (P1, line 70)
“We agreed about the situation that we
would be in.”
However, with only one of them working
it is inevitable to encounter difficulties such
as financial challenges.
“Oo miabot sad ang time oy.. niabot gyud
ang time labi na kanang nagkasakit sakit
bitaw ang mga bata sauna bitaw akoang
eldest. Niagi nig kaduha ka operasyon so pait
kay mi ato tayma.” (P1, line 79-81)
“Yes, there came a time, when my eldest
was sick. He had to go through 2 operations. So
it was a very difficult time for us.”
“Lisod jud oy. Usa rajud nanarbaho niya
dakog gasto ba.” (P1, lines 82 & 84)
“It’s very hard considering only one of us is
working and not to mention the cost.”
While for the second couple, Arlene and
Julito, they talked about how important it is to
have an equal division of work in the
household. In the following extract, Arlene
talked about Julito cooking and doing the
laundry every time he has the time.
“Siyay maglaba siyay magluto.”
(P2, line 202)
“He does the laundry and also cooks.”
“Akoy maglaba akoy maghugas, ako sad
mo luto nya ana rajud magka sinabtanayra
nga siyay may bakante, siya sad maghugas
siyay magluto, ana rajud.” (P2, line 203-205)
“I do the laundry, I wash the dishes, I also
cook. It’s always like that if he doesn’t have
work then it’s him who was to wash the dishes
and cook.”
Lastly, the couple also talked about how
important it is to understand and respect
each other.
“Magkasinabtanay raman jud ang
importante.” (P2, line 260)
“Understanding each other is very
“Mag respetuay lang bag aron way
problema.” (P2, line 261-262)
“The key is to respect each other so there
won’t be any problems.”
This chapter talks about the theoretical
implications of the results of the study. The
purpose of this research is to determine and
investigate whether there are Gender role
differences between Rural and Urban
communities based on their experiences and
duties. Using a Narrative approach as a
method, four suitable respondents met the
given criteria and were then selected to be
interviewed. Interview session was audio
recorded and has been transcribed
afterwards. The analysis of the interview
transcripts consisted of 15 sub themes and
two major themes.
The results of the current study indicated
that both genders are capable. First, women
are now capable of doing tasks that were
once considered for men only. This result is
consistent with other studies such as Warth &
Koparanova (2012) stated that rights,
responsibilities and opportunities of
individuals will not depend on whether they
are born male or female.
Also in family and labor life, the
traditional roles of a Filipino woman are to
take care of their children and the house. On
the other hand, Filipino men are only
assigned to find a job in order to support his
family (Philippine Culture). The study can
relate to the findings such that women do
more work than men and husband’s
perspective that women should be the first
hand to take care of the children.
Limitations of the study
Conclusions that can be drawn in this
study are limited in some aspects. Due to the
availability and place of residence of the
respondents, researchers must select suitable
respondents in order to gather enough data
for the study. Other factors such as education
and religious beliefs were not included in
data analysis that might support in the
respondents capabilities and household
works. The researchers interviewed only four
suitable respondents from rural and urban
communities in Cebu only.
As a conclusion, findings revealed that
there are no such differences in Gender roles
between rural and urban communities. Their
experiences and duties are almost the same.
Woman from rural and urban communities
have more work than men specifically in
household works. Men on the other hand, are
also capable in doing what women can do
except that men cannot deliver a baby.
This study, employed qualitative
approach involving four (4) selected
respondents and were divided according to
gender based on the following criteria: (a)
must be 30-60 years old (b) must be a couple
(c) can communicate using Cebuano, Tagalog,
and English languages (d) willingness to
participate for the study (e) has the ability to
answer the given questions for the study.
This study simply focus on Gender
roles differences in rural and urban areas
therefore much research still needs to be
conducted to gain a more thorough
understanding of changing gender roles in
such communities. As most studies focus on
the experiences of the roles of a woman, it
becomes necessary to gain an understanding
of the experiences of men as well. Future
researchers may also focus on how Religion’s
effect on Gender Roles.
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“Gender Role Differences Between Urban and Rural Communities”
A Research Paper Presented To University Of Cebu
Cebu City, Philippines