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Continuity Vs Discontinuity in Changing Roles of Women

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Words: 1051 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 1051|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. First Generation: The Grandmother's Era
  3. Second Generation: The Mother's Struggle
  4. Third Generation: The Sister's Empowerment
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works Cited

Introduction

The three generations of women in this context refer to the mother, grandmother, and sister. Various roles played by women as a mother, sister, and grandmother change with the generational trajectory and beliefs. In order to gain a deeper comprehension, the current analysis is from interviews with my grandmother, mother, and sister. In so doing, this has helped me in identifying the difference in inter-generational roles that women played in their respective generations and how they lived their lives and upheld their values. By identifying continuity vs discontinuity, this analysis identifies several implications which help in understanding the cause of gender inequality experienced by my foremothers. T

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First Generation: The Grandmother's Era

The first woman I interviewed was my Grandmother, Carmen, born 1931 in Havana Cuba. Both her parents died in her childhood leaving her an orphan at barely twelve years old. She was then forced to live with an uncle until she turned eighteen years old. Interviewing my grandmother first was crucial because she would provide me with an insight into the women's roles in her generation. In perspective, gendered roles are passed from one generation to another and I was certain that my grandmother could have passed down those ideas to her daughter, and in return my mother would pass those beliefs on to her daughter, my sister. My grandmother is a devout Catholic who attends church regularly whose morals span around respecting and upholding Christian values, especially how women should humble themselves before their husbands, and serve their every need. Upon turning eighteen, she met my grandfather, got married a year later, and had a baby girl. My grandfather was a hard worker, but at the time, poverty and unemployment in Cuba was at an all-time high and still, anyone who was lucky enough to have a job could barely survive on the wages. The situation forced my grandmother to look for a job, but that didn’t mean she was excused from he duties as a mother and wife. She was forced to balance the traditional role of a housewife with working full time to feed her family. From this interview, my grandmother’s generation had women’s roles defined as housewives, keeping the home orderly and assuming the traditional role of the woman who scrubs the floor, cleans the house, and attend to the family’s needs without considering her needs, desires and personal growth. However, her generation was facing the challenges of the socio-economic transitions with women equally playing a major role in providing for the family and looking for jobs despite employment discrimination based on gender.

Second Generation: The Mother's Struggle

Secondly, I interviewed my mother who was only ten when she left Cuba aboard the freedom flights to the United States in 1971. My grandparents along with my mother and two of her siblings moved to Washington Heights in New York City shortly after arriving in Miami. Growing up, my mother was expected to help my grandmother around the house. She cleaned up after her siblings and helped my grandmother cook, clean and wash clothes. My mother completed high school in the late ’70s and married my father soon after. By 1986, she had three children, me, my brother, and my sister. She stayed home and took on the role of Homemaker while my father worked then came home and physically abused her for little things like over cooking a roast. My mother put up with years of abuse until she decided to file for a divorce. She was emotionally and physically torn down and told me that although divorce was against the beliefs of her Catholic upbringing, it was the only way for her to get her freedom. In 1991, my mother became a single parent raising three children in New York City. She took her newfound freedom and went back to school while working full-time and maintaining her household.

Third Generation: The Sister's Empowerment

Lastly, I interviewed my sister Marybeth, born in 1986, in New York City. At an early age, our mother stressed the importance of education and made sure that my sister finished her schooling. Unlike my mother and grandmother who were obligated to do housework from an early age, my sister was not mandated to help my mom in any way around the house as her main focus was school. She eventually graduated, became a nurse and two years later gave birth to a baby girl. After finishing her maternity leave, my sister immediately went back to work while her husband stayed home to watch the baby and do all the cooking and cleaning. The interview details show the differences and discontinuity in women's roles in the first two generations in comparison to the third generation. My grandmother belongs to the first generation and ascribed to the socially constructed gendered roles of doing housework, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and taking care of children. In both my grandmother and mother's generations, the women’s roles are obligatory and they have to take the subordinate roles of being the second gender to their men. For my grandmother, she shows how the notion of women’s role as home bearers were instilled in her since childhood, as she had those roles at a young age growing up with her uncle. The same is the case with my mother and I strongly believe that her views on women roles were instilled in her by my grandmother.

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Conclusion

There is a discontinuity in the roles from the first generation, my grandmother’s, where women had less voice and equality was not particularly respected in all social spheres including employment and the family. My sister confirms a totally changed generation and women’s role transitioning into more freedom and equality. Marybeth hardly believes in women’s engendered roles and believes in equality and working. Her generation shows women taking up job roles and not being confined to the socially constructed and instilled ideas of women playing subordinate roles as housewives. The common theme amongst all three generations of women involved financially providing for their families, but unlike my Grandmother and Mother, my sister did not work.

Works Cited

  1. Scott, J. (1986). Gender and the Politics of History. Columbia University Press.
  2. Freeman, J. (2018). Women: A Cultural Review. Routledge.
  3. Davis, A. Y. (1983). Women, Race & Class. Vintage Books.
  4. Smith, D. E. (1974). Women's History and Social History. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 1(4), 775-799.
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Continuity vs Discontinuity in Changing Roles of Women. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/continuity-vs-discontinuity-in-changing-roles-of-women/
“Continuity vs Discontinuity in Changing Roles of Women.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/continuity-vs-discontinuity-in-changing-roles-of-women/
Continuity vs Discontinuity in Changing Roles of Women. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/continuity-vs-discontinuity-in-changing-roles-of-women/> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
Continuity vs Discontinuity in Changing Roles of Women [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Aug 04 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/continuity-vs-discontinuity-in-changing-roles-of-women/
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