Varied researches have been undertaken by many scholars in various disciplines ranging from archeology, ethnography or ethno history and findings from this researches shows that Latin and Caribbean women have a diverse history as far as their roles they in society is concerned. To that purpose, women in Latin America and Caribbean have struggled in efforts aimed at improving their standards of living and affording them better lifestyles. This paper examines their experiences from the past to the present period. The women’s character explains how strong and dedicated the women are to their families and community at large. Furthermore, this paper shows how they continue to fight for their rights under the frameworks of organizations they form over a period. The roles of Women in Latin America and Caribbean were defined such that they were to stay at home, cook for the family when the husband is out working, bear children, and be very submissive to their husbands at all times. In Mexico, men are regarded to be macho meaning they gained respect from every one and their wives or family while the women are regarded as Mary mother of God or Marianismo (Steven 57). This indicates that they are to be the moral authority for the family.
This role has changed over a period causing the men and women to be equals. Due to this change, most women have taken upon themselves to search for jobs. This has given women so much independence and boosted their self-esteem. This has not been a very good change because most women who are from poor or middle class have not been lucky in getting better jobs and have therefore undergone a number of problems. In most Latin and Caribbean countries, the women work in un-favorable conditions compared to the men (Steven 63). According to the statistics, women are paid 65 percent of what the men are getting. It is a well-known fact that women are overworked and under paid. Most women who are from poor background they are not able to get better education therefore, they are not able to get better jobs that will support them and their families.
Most researches indicate that most of the Latin women are victims of sexual harassment, wage theft, ethnicity, and discrimination of race in the work place. The survey shows that 72 percent of women are likely to report that are subjects of discrimination by the men while 77 percent are victims of sexual harassment. For example, most bosses and supervisors are men so they take this advantage and force women to have intercourse with them make their lives miserable at the work place or by firing them.
Marriage is one of the most important rite of passage among the Caribbean and Latina people especially the Chile people (Castillo-feliu 30). However, in the recent years most women give birth out of wedlock. Even after all this changes it is still believed that, a woman’s place should be at home taking care of the kids. Modern Latina and Caribbean woman are able juggle through parenting and been a working mom. This shows that can handle both work and parenting but due the knowledge women have decided to have kids out of wedlock this decreases the chances of one getting a husband. Being not well educated due to poverty, the women should marry before deciding to have children.
Survival strategies used by Latina and Caribbean is that they form organizations that will be able to fight for their rights of not been discriminated and be treated as equals with the male workers. The same organization will be able to help women especially those from poor background and have not had proper training of the job they are doing (Jennifer 202). Formation of groups within an organization this will create a forum in which the women will be able to communicate their problems and try to find suitable ways in which they solve them in the work place.
Various women in different Latina and Caribbean countries formed organizations in order to fight for the rights of the women at home and at the work place. In Ecuador, a project created in order for the women who have been discriminated due to their sex can complain and express their frustration. This project is Letters of Women. This seemed to be helping the women because they are able to express their emotion and clear their conscious. Luisa Amanda Espinoza Association of Nicaraguan Women formed in 1977. This organization failed because most women in Nicaraguan believed that the organization was not working to their interest. Instead, the organization made assumptions that they knew what the women wanted without consulting them first.
In 1987, Loren Finnell formed the resource foundation. The purpose of this organization was to empower or encourage the poor women in Latin America and Caribbean to break out of poverty and create a better life for their families and themselves.
Castillo-Feliu, Guillermo. “Culture and Customs of Chile.” (2000).
Jennifer, Abbassi, and Sheryl Lutjens. Rereading Women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Boston: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.
Nathalie, Lebon, and Sonia E. Alvarez. Women’s Activism in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Steven, E.P. “Machismo and Marianismo .” (1973): 57-63.