Ambiguous ideology and contradictory behaviour : gender in the development of Caribbean societies : a case study of Antigua
The main purpose of this research is to explore the interconnections between reproduction and production, and women's roles in a wide range of social and economic process in the Caribbean in general, and in Antigua specifically. The focus on Antigua allows for an examination of women's integration into the social, political and economic development of a small Caribbean territory. Using gender theory as an analytical tool, I analyze the results of a large social survey of Antiguan women (504), together with data obtained from my own interviews and from a wide range of previously unavailable and unpublished secondary data. These have enabled me to demonstrate both the contributions Antiguan women have made to development, and the constraints which they have confronted over the period 1834- 1990. The thesis is organized into eight chapters. Divided into two parts, it begins by examining a wide range of sociological and anthropological theories which purport to explain the nature of Caribbean family organization, and relations between men and women, namely the concepts of matrifocality and male marginality. It also looks at the utility of gender theory for analyzing Caribbean social reality. Chapter Two moves on to look at the contemporary situation of Caribbean women, particularly with respect to national development policy. Chapter Three then turns to the situation confronting Antiguan women from Emancipation in 1834 up to the present. Part Two moves away from the general Caribbean situation to an analysis of data gathered in 1980/81 on Antiguan women by the Women in the Caribbean Project, University of the West Indies. Chapter Four sets this data in perspective, while Chapters Five through Seven examine in detail the impact of education, work, and the family on women's lives. One of the major purposes of this section is to listen to what the women themselves have to say from their own experience. This section is then followed by a concluding chapter. In conclusion, we see that despite new opportunities and different behavioral patterns of women and men, Antigua is still very much a patriarchal society with power concentrated in the hands of a few men. Women's self-perception and social interaction continues to be mediated by their ascribed gender roles, and both young and old women conform to traditional gender stereotypes. It is hoped that the data generated by and included in this thesis will contribute to a cross-cultural perspective on women in development as well as offer a critical contribution to current and future research on Antigua.