The Caribbean Women's Movement

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With the spread of education at the turn of the 20th century and the growing availability of white collar jobs for all unmarried women of all races, new opportunities opened up that began to negate the rigid economic dependency of Caribbean women on men. The most common jobs available to women were in education, nursing, secretarial, clerical and switchboard operating. In traditional religions, women played subsidiary roles as Sunday school teachers and participated in fund raising activities. In Afro-Christian churches e.g. Kumina in Jamaica, women played dominant roles as leaders. One public avenue always open to women was charitable works. Early women’s groups emerged from amongst women of the middle class who were responding to the perceived…show more content…
Women also started to sit on municipal and legislative councils. Organisations like the Garvey movement were also instrumental in fight for rights by women by stressing equality in contribution by all members of a race. Out of this emerged leaders such as Una Marson in Jamaica and Audrey Jeffers in Trinidad and Tobago. The modern Caribbean Women’s Movement can really be said to have emerged in the late 1940s and early 1950s with the creation of a number of national umbrella women’s organisations to coordinate the efforts of the women’s institutes through the region. It was their combined efforts supported by the West Indies Federation which sought to establish a Caribbean Women’s Association (CARIFWA). Though both organisations failed, CARIFWA had already established the strategic principle of mainstreaming with governments of the region. Important founding members include: Audrey Jeffers of Trinidad and Tobago, Dorothy Lightbourne of Jamaica, Phyllis Allfrey of Dominica, Rita Guy of St. Lucia, Grace, Lady Adams of…show more content…
These roles are determined society. What is man’s work versus women’s work is an area of demarcation in gender construction. Males are usually assigned outdoor chores – tending to animals, mowing the lawn, painting the house and other duties involving physical exertion. Girls/female roles consist of more indoor domestic chores. This rigid pattern of socialization of the children does not always followed as issues of cultural differences, ethnicity and the composition of the family, will affect the way this process is carried out. But in most societies work within the domestic environment is divided among gender lines with female being constrained to jobs on the inside while the male is allowed to explore outdoor frontiers. This process of socialization where the female is called on to be discipline and diligent in her household chores while the male is allowed cavalier in his duties comes later to affect issues of male marginalization as proposed by Figueroa (1996). - Male must not be maama man i.e. he must not be domesticated. According to Figueroa (1996) domestication worked to the advantage of the female. The girl is socialized into being discipline while males lacked the discipline to do well in

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