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Caribbean women: changes in the works

Author(s): María Isabel Quiñones-Arocho

Journal: New West Indian Guide
ISSN 1382-2373

Volume: 66;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 89;
Date: 1992;
Original page

Keywords: Dominican Republic | Puerto Rico | British Caribbean | women | gender relations | social development | social history | book review

[First paragraph] The women of Azua: work and family in the rural Dominican Republic, by BARBARA FINLAY. New York: Praeger, 1989. xi + 190 pp. (Cloth US$ 35.00) The psychosocial development of Puerto Rican women, edited by CYNTHIA T. GARCIA COLL & MARIA DE LOURDES MATTEI. New York: Praeger, 1989. xiii + 272 pp. (Cloth US$ 45.00) Women and the sexual division oflabour in the Caribbean, edited by KEITH HART. Mona, Jamaica: Consortium Graduate School of Social Sciences, UWI, 1989. 141 pp. (Paper n.p.) The three books under review work have a common theme: the impact of changing gender expectations on Caribbean women. The authors are mainly concerned with recent political and economie changes that might have contributed to either the improvement or deterioration of women's status in these societies. The questions raised by the contributors are strikingly similar: What has been the impact of dependent economie development on women's lives and has this resulted in increased labor participation (a problem explored for rural Dominican women as well as for Jamaican and Barbadian women) or in the migration to metropolitan centers, with its psychosocial consequences (an issue raised for Puerto Rican women living in the United States)? If patriarchal values (often referred to as traditional values) prevail in these societies, then what impact might wage work, migration, or improved education have on those values? Could it be the disintegration of the nuclear family with an increased proportion of female-headed households (Hart), higher rates of mental illness as a result of dysfunctional aceulturation (Garcia Coll and Mattei), or even an improvement of women's status within their families and communities (Finlay)?
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