Gender Rules: Discrimination and tradition among Caribbean-born women in US colleges
The experiences of immigrant women of color withinUShigher education provide a unique opportunity to understand the complex influences of intersecting identities within the context of changing social contexts. To determine how the social categories of gender, class, race, and nationality operate in Caribbean immigrant women’s experience of being college students, focus groups were conducted with 27 English-speaking Caribbean-born women attending NYC undergraduate colleges. Data show when women move to the US they come from gendered cultural traditions that determined their social roles in the Caribbean. For most women, these rules continue to operate in the US. However, gender roles and traditions are not homogenous throughout the Caribbean, hence, there is variation in how they play out in women’s experiences in the US. Further, the formerly distinct boundaries between some Caribbean traditions and US traditions are being challenged. These findings underline the complex influence of intersecting identities in women’s roles and call attention to how they affect social identification in the context of college pursuits and other aspects of their lives. In light of increased cross-cultural contact and globalization these findings provide a better understanding of factors affecting the psychological adjustment of Caribbean immigrant women in the US and have implications for enhancing their adaptation across changing social contexts.
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