Since I’m in the topic of motherhood, I’d like to talk about the rampancy of unwed single mothers in the Philippines.
To place it in context, I work in a business that hires a lot of women. Since our products cater to women, we hire more women because they’re the best gender to sell to our target market.
I love hiring women — they are usually more detail-oriented, more serious at work, tolerant, and despite their issues, still serve mostly with a smile. They can also handle criticism better, and usually are less argumentative when it comes to work.
At the same time, women have more self-confidence issues. They think lower about themselves, and are victims of philandering husbands and live-in partners, or abusive boyfriends. They seem to grab on whatever small bone of happiness their partner throws at them, even though it’s less than what they deserve.
They are also more responsible and take on the issues of the family when their family members or partners fail. Many are breadwinners and carry the family’s financial burden. Which is a lot especially when you’re taking care of your parents, your siblings and a few of your children from various fathers.
What’s worse, they hold the burden of supporting sick family members.Since many of them have to check in their family members at public hospitals, they as the responsible ones are forced to be the ones to leave their jobs and care for the ill patient.
So there are pros and cons to hiring women in the Philippines.
Pros is that they are better suited for the job offered, mentally and physically. While the con is that, when family and money problem arise, it affects them and their work, and ultimately, force them to leave their jobs, causing my business a lot of cases of AWOL (Absence Without Leave)
And you have to give it to the women —
In 2008, 37% of the 1.8 million babies born in the Philippines were from unwed mothers according to the National Statistics Office. This is an increase of 12% from 2007.
In a 2013 demographic survey, 10% of women from ages 15 to 19 are already pregnant with their FIRST child. Eight percent are already mothers while 2% are pregnant.
I for one only have to look at all the women who come in to interview. I listen to their stories and inwardly cry at their naivete and stupidity. Of allowing men to get them get pregnant without both being financially ready.
Personally, I don’t judge single mothers. My heart bleeds for them. As a mother who is lucky enough to have a helpful husband, I cannot imagine just how much harder it is to raise a kid on your own.
Case in point, two of my office staff are single mothers.
My older supervisor is married with two beautiful daughters, but is separated from her husband who has a second family.
They all carry the burdens of raising their families, half expecting some half-hearted support from the fathers, but realistically paying for their and their kid’s daily needs from their own pockets.
Today, my supervisor told me that one of her staff Jenny was missing from the store for more than the allotted hour.
When asked where she went, she said that she had to fix some money issues because she’s already spent all of the money she received from her wages last Saturday (Today is Wednesday). And because she spent all of her money already, she couldn’t pay their utility bill and their electricity got cut off.
I told the supervisor to closely monitor the staff in the next few days. Her work has indeed been affected due to her personal problems and historically, staff who couldn’t budget and are constantly running out of money usually fall into the temptation of AWOL and theft. Because of her money problems, I doubt that Jenny will stay longer with us.
So why not increase their salaries then?
Some critics tell me that the easiest solution to help all these women is to increase their salaries. If you give them more, then they would need less, and you can pat yourself in the back knowing that you’ve helped.
Anyway, why not give more to your staff instead of enriching yourselves? Wouldn’t that be the more socially responsible thing to do?
I’m sorry, but people who use this reasoning, do not understand. They give many helpful advice without thinking the problem through, and understanding the consequences.
Business is all about balance — balance in paying your suppliers (for your goods), your people (for your operation), receiving money from your customers (as revenue), and rewarding yourself for the trouble and capital you put the money in.
You cannot overpay one at the risk of another, and if the trouble is too much for me, I’d rather just close shop and enjoy peace and quiet with my capital earning minimal cash in the bank, which is just fine.
And to debunk the argument of paying your people more, actually, that’s NOT TRUE.
Paying your people more is not the answer. It’s paying DESERVING people more.
That is the reason why our business operates in a basic pay + high commission, so as to spread the love and profits to staff who sell better and more consistently. And for our regular staff, we offer them a generous performance bonus that genuinely reflects the effort they’ve given the entire year.
It’s not about increasing people’s salaries. To do so is to invite lazy, ignorant and ungrateful staff into your fold. It’s about increasing people’s salaries IF THEY’VE EARNED IT.
That way, good staff comes to your fold. Because they know that if they work hard and perform well, they will be amply rewarded for their efforts.
And even if you increase salaries, it’s never enough. If a woman cannot budget her money, even doubling her salary is a mere temporary band-aid to the problem. She will still have money problems despite her salary increase.
Case in point, one of my supervisors who is no longer with us. Despite earning 50% more than her subordinates, she still borrows from them! Why? Because she is financially irresponsible, supporting a lazy husband, a teenage daughter with a baby, and a few more children.
So I don’t think it’s about raising the salaries. Instead, it’s about being responsible, and looking at the long-term.
And, it’s also about protecting yourselves from pregnancy and not having babies when you’re not ready for them!
Now I love babies. I have one so I have to love ’em. But they sure are expensive.
It’s like a cash register — every day is a Ka-Ching!
When they were born, Ka-Ching on hospital bills!
When you take them home, Ka-Ching on diapers! Php 8-10 per piece and you have to change them 8x-10x per day! I think we finished more than four boxes already…
Ka-Ching on vaccinations!
Ka-Ching on Onesies, Swaddles, and Clothes!
Ka-Ching on their food! Thank goodness I breastfeed so I save up on milk expense, but seriously, Ka-Ching!
Ka-Ching on breastmilk pumping materials!
Ka-Ching, ka-ching, ka-ching…!
So babies are expensive. My baby is expensive. As a first-time mother, I spend more money on her, than for me.
And I will continue spending until she comes home for her first paycheck… when she’s around 21 years old!
Ka-Ching, ka-ching, ka-ching…!
And I’m one of the luckier ones.
I am in my mid-30s, married, with a relatively stable job and two supportive households who will be there to bail us out in case we run into money problems.
While we aren’t super rich, we have many of life’s comforts. I can buy my kid unnecessary toys just because I want to, and I don’t need to check my account to see if we can afford it or not.
With regards to the others… well, that’s a different story.
They are pregnant at a younger age, with multiple children when they reach their mid-20s, and don’t have the stable support of a husband. They are usually unmarried, and by the time they’re in their 30s, they may already have a different partner.
Which is why I am pro-contraceptive. Why I believe in protecting yourself in unwanted pregnancy.
If you’re going to do it, be safe and be protected. And not fall in the trap of raising a family earlier than necessary.
So that’s my thoughts on solving poverty — Have sex responsibly. Use protection. Don’t get pregnant unless you’re in a stable relationship, hopefully married, and have a stable job to raise your kid properly.
Rant over. Have a good week ahead!