Reading Response

Women Immigrant

The focus on immigrant women and women studies in general has not been a huge part of immigrant history. Immigrant women in immigrant studies and women’s studies had not been shown until a change existed in 1970s and the 1980s. The history of the family, working classes, respect for human agencies, as workers and labor activist are some of the numerous areas where women’s studies and immigration studies combine and could be examined to better represent the history of immigrant women. But this is not happening, instead they history is being developed in opposing fields. During the early 1970s a popular method of study was to look at the documents of notable women’s lives and contributions. For women’s studies this is great but it leaves out such a large group of marginalized women, like immigrants. At the same time, immigrant studies was moving away from upholding the contributions of immigrants. Or filliopietism which is the glorification of the contributions of great immigrants. Another change in the mid-1970s in women’s studies was the focus on the uniqueness of women apart from men, the opposite of immigrant studies who were looking at the family unit as a community. But some felt this did not fully represent women immigrant studies because a woman’s voice is usually no heard in family units. From these examples and to further the study of immigrant women, the next steps are to look immigrant women in new ways than before. Those outside of the home, if they are tied to a family or community how do they identify themselves there, and to move away from putting western ideas on immigrant women.

An example of this is Irish immigrant women. Unlike most women immigrants who travelled to America, Irish women were unmarried and earning wages sending them back home to devastated farms and families. These women were traveling in equal numbers to men but doing so severely from the male immigrants. The opportunities were different also. They were usually working in others homes at the time but did leaned help to later workers movements. The contribution of these lone women are seen also in religion. It was nuns who played a large role in the creation of social welfare institutions in urban America. These women away from home also helped to influence it though they were no longer there. The wages they sent back went to family farms during famine, churches to fund education, and an exchange of ideas like nationalism.