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To the Young Women of Malolos: Summary and Analysis

Jose Rizal’s legacy to Filipino women is embodied in his famous essay entitled, “To the Young Women of Malolos,” where he addresses all kinds of women – mothers, wives, the unmarried, etc. and expresses everything that he wishes them to keep in mind. 


“To the Women of Malolos” was originally written in Tagalog.  Rizal penned this writing when he was in London, in response to the request of Marcelo H. del Pilar.  The salient points contained in this letter are as follows:

  1. The rejection of the spiritual authority of the friars – not all of the priests in the country that time embodied the true spirit of Christ and His Church.  Most of them were corrupted by worldly desires and used worldly methods to effect change and force discipline among the people.
  2. The defense of private judgment
  3. Qualities Filipino mothers need to possess – as evidenced by this portion of his letter, Rizal is greatly concerned of the welfare of the Filipino children and the homes they grow up in.
  4. Duties and responsibilities of Filipino mothers to their children
  5. Duties and responsibilities of a wife to her husband – Filipino women are known to be submissive, tender, and loving.  Rizal states in this portion of his letter how Filipino women ought to be as wives, in order to preserve the identity of the race.
  6. Counsel to young women on their choice of a lifetime partner

Rizal’s Message to Filipino Women

Jose Rizal was greatly impressed by the fighting spirit that the young women of Malolos had shown.  In his letter, he expresses great joy and satisfaction over the battle they had fought.  In this portion of Rizal’s letter, it is obvious that his ultimate desire was for women to be offered the same opportunities as those received by men in terms of education.  During those days young girls were not sent to school because of the universal notion that they would soon only be taken as wives and stay at home with the children.  Rizal, however, emphasizes on freedom of thought and the right to education, which must be granted to both boys and girls alike.

The Responsibilities of Filipino Mothers to Their Children

Rizal stipulates a number of important points in this portion of his letter to the young women of Malolos.  The central idea here, however, is that whatever a mother shows to her children is what the children will become also.  If the mother is always kissing the hand of the friars in submission, then her children will grow up to be sycophants and mindless fools who do nothing but do as they are told, even if the very nature of the task would violate their rights as individuals.

Qualities Mothers have to Possess

Rizal enumerates the qualities Filipino mothers have to possess:
  1. Be a noble wife.
  2. Rear her children in the service of the state – here Rizal gives reference to the women of Sparta who embody this quality
  3. Set standards of behavior for men around her.

Rizal’s Advice to Unmarried Men and Women

Jose Rizal points out to unmarried women that they should not be easily taken by appearances and looks, because these can be very deceiving.  Instead, they should take heed of men’s firmness of character and lofty ideas.  Rizal further adds that there are three things that a young woman must look for a man she intends to be her husband:
  1. A noble and honored name
  2. A manly heart
  3. A high spirit incapable of being satisfied with engendering slaves.


“To the Women of Malolos” centers around five salient points (Zaide &Zaide, 1999):
  1. Filipino mothers should teach their children love of God, country and fellowmen.
  2. Filipino mothers should be glad and honored, like Spartan mothers, to offer their sons in defense of their country.
  3. Filipino women should know how to protect their dignity and honor.
  4. Filipino women should educate themselves aside from retaining their good racial values.
  5. Faith is not merely reciting prayers and wearing religious pictures. It is living the real Christian way with good morals and manners.
In recent times, it seems that these qualities are gradually lost in the way Filipino women conduct themselves.  There are oftentimes moments where mothers forget their roles in rearing their children because of the overriding idea of having to earn for the family to supplement their husband’s income.  Although there is nothing negative about working hard for the welfare of the family, there must always be balance in the way people go through life.  Failure in the home cannot be compensated for by any amount of wealth or fame.


  1. thank you for this, good analysis

  2. Thank you for sharing this analysis. :)

  3. I also be thankful to this analysis,because it help me to my homework.I have a guide now how to do it:)

  4. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. thanks this summary and analysis its make me know deeply about it....

  6. thank you for your kindness!

  7. I learn from this essay that Filipino women should have the right in their education even if soon they will just become a housewife because each and everyone of us has the right to have education.

  8. Jose Rizal really knew the empowerment 'equality' could offer to us. He clearly believes that 'race' or even 'gender' is not a limitation for every individual to prosper less. Furthermore, this only states how Rizal greatly values and highly respects women in our country.

  9. Jose Rizal really knew the empowerment 'equality' could offer to us. He clearly believes that 'race' or even 'gender' is not a limitation for every individual to prosper less. Furthermore, this only states how Rizal greatly values and highly respects women in our country.

    Tibi, Clarizza E., contributor,

  10. Rizal really wanted to make his people open their eyes and to avoid ignorance of freedom. Ignorance is the cause of slavery during their time and this is what we must not let to happen again. He did not want its people to live without a religious belief but he just wants them apprehend not to be deceived by the exploitations done by the friars under their robes.

    Catherine Eramia

  11. Dr. Jose Rizal read the old and new testament of the Bible that's why he knows that the doctrines of the Catholic are wrong like kiss the hand of the priests, throw money away on churches, and believe all the friar sees fit to tell us; gossip, callous rubbing of noses. He (JESUS CHRIST) did not mention scapularies, nor did He make rosaries, or solicit offerings for the sacrifice of the Mass or exact payments for His prayers. which is until now people and priest still doing this. SO my fellow Filipinos wake up,Rizal died because of this practicing wrong doctrines. that's why they killed our hero.

    If that is the God whom the friar adores, then I turn my back upon that God.
    by Dr. Jose Rizal

  12. very nice analysis!
    so easy to understand! :))

  13. Rizal’s Advice to Unmarried Men and Women
    "A high spirit incapable of being satisfied with engendering slaves."
    Kindly explain this further? I don't really understand it. Thank you!

    1. It means that women should look for a man who is noble enough not to make a slave of anyone, or to relish in being master over slaves.

    2. Thank you :)))

  14. "In recent times, it seems that these qualities are gradually lost in the way Filipino women conduct themselves. There are oftentimes moments where mothers forget their roles in rearing their children because of the overriding idea of having to earn for the family to supplement their husband’s income."

    You have provided the notion here that it is still more acceptable for men to work instead of women. By writing this, you have disregarded what women really are. Women are not to be confined in homes alone. Besides, it is not only them who should work for the welfare of the family. Both parents should. And no, there is nothing wrong with women working for their families as much as there is nothing wrong with men working for theirs.

    Is it not truly noble for women to work for their families? Is it not truly noble that they have grasped the equal rights in attaining the job of their choice? Saying that they have lost their qualities just because they started working is a very shameful act and perpetuates ignorance of what women really are.

    The analysis of the essay was very well-written. But I don't think it is justifiable to say that women have lost these qualities (which are standards made up by men, and Rizal already said that women should be setting standards for the men, [too]. Rizal talked about how women should not accept being tied to useless men for they are so much more than that). If you will correlate this change in women's behavior with the capitalist system, maybe you will understand why women working is necessary. (Although it is just a social construct dictated by men who think so highly of themselves *patriarchy, anyone?* that women should be like this or like that) However, necessary or not, I am in the belief that women should have the same opportunities as men when it comes to seeking jobs. And family-rearing is not a woman's job alone. What are the men for? Just there to plant the seed? And what after? If you can say that balance is needed, then it must apply to the working father as well, and not solely on the mother.

  15. In my opinion, you misunderstood what the blogger/contributor is trying to imply. The focus in his/her statement is the way how mothers in the recent times suppose to raise their children. That's why Rizal came to the point where he gave advice to the Filipina mothers toward their children through this letter. Because even himself have seen the deficiency of them. Although, we cannot judge mothers on how they raise their children, it is still worthwhile if your child contributes for the sake of the country or should I say for the family rather than be a nuisance trash who bring shame to its members.

    About the job issue, you're right all along. But I don't think so that the blogger argued about men over women, and whatsoever superiority issues (is there?). Yes, both parents are oblige to their children. However, as I said earlier I think his/her focus is the mother towards their children.

    So, that's my point.

  16. Thank you very much!

  17. hi :)
    thank you for sharing this one! :) it was a HUGE help for my Philippine Political theories class!

    hope you can read my blogs too :) *laughs*

  18. wag sana masamain pero bakit hidi ganoon ka tugma yung PITONG habilin ni rizal lalo na ang panglima. just asking


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