How do women and men divide labor within the home?
Women in Haiti are very important in the stabilization of their families and play an important role in the economy. They are the primary caretakers of the family nearly half of urban households are female headed (Cox, 2010). Since 60 percent of the country lives off of agriculture, women had to earn a wage.
There are 3 social groups of Haiti and a small minority of women belong to the top 2 groups of the 10 percent of rural population. They are considered elite and some have held state positions. The women are mulatto and they are objects in marital exchanges (Charles, 1995) The bottom class is the majority of women and men, middle class and peasants . 48 percent of the workforce are women in urban and rural areas, there are independent small landowners and landless wage earners. Sharecropping is how they make a living and in addition to household chores, the women have to sell crops for the internal market and men are the commercial agents of export crops(Charles, 1995).
The most common relationship was known as a plasaj and was not legally recognized but it was normal in for the lower class. In the beginning the agreement is understood by both parties. The men were to cultivate one plot of land and providing the woman’s house (Metz, 2001).
What makes a man a man in that country? Just them being male makes them have ultimate control (Family Roles and Organization, 2003). The plasaj made it easy for mean to have polygamous relationships, or extramarital relationships which lead to the increase in single parent households by women. It forces them to be the main provider financially. Women are subjected to domestic abuse because men are the authoritative figure (Metz, 2001).
How are women treated in terms of education, and child bearing practices? There are very high illiteracy rates, for men and women but women are lack the most education. When women are left are art supported by their husband they struggle to pay for schooling for they’re children let alone themselves. Women have no say in how many children they want to bear. Men do not usually use contraception and their culture believe pregnancy is determined by God (Family Roles and Organization, 2003). The fertility rate as of 2012 is 3.2 according to UNICEF and GDP could increase if women had more control over their bodies (Padgett, 2011).
During pregnancy women are encourage to eat red fruits snd vegetables like pomegranates and beets (because they believe it helps the baby’s blood) and discouraged to eat spicy foods to not irritate the child. The father is not involved so they leave the labor work to other women and family. After birth, theres one month of confinement, to keep the baby and mother safe because they are vulnerable. The keep the infant wrapped and warm and after the month they name it. Childbirth is seen as a happy time.
How does having family ties in the US affect the family? Emigration doesn’t mean that their obligation to the family in Haiti has reduced. Family members that have emigrated are still financially responsible to those in Haiti. They help to finance others’ immigration to the U.S. When new immigrants arrive, they often live with a friend or another family member. Surprisingly, they are expected to be generous and often will take in new refugees, even if there are no ties to these individuals (Family Roles and Organization, 2003)
Charles, C. (1995). Gender and Politics in Contemporary Haiti: The Duvalierist State, Transnationalism, and the Emergence of a New Feminism (1980-1990). Feminist Studies, 21(1), 135-164. doi:10.2307/3178323
Cox, T (Host) (2010, July 26). The Role of Women In Rebuilding Haiti [Radio broadcast episode]. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128776196
Family Roles and Organization. (2003). Retrieved July 13, 2018, from https://www.salisbury.edu/nursing/haitiancultcomp/family_roles_and_organ.htm
Metz, H. C. & Library Of Congress. Federal Research Division. (2001) Dominican Republic and Haiti: country studies. Washington, DC: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress ; For sale by the Supt. of Docs. U.S. G.P.O. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2001023524/.
Padgett, A., & Warnecke, T. (2011). Diamonds in the rubble: the women of Haiti institutions, gender equity and human development in Haiti. Journal of Economic Issues, 45(3), 527+. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu.proxy1.cl.msu.edu.proxy2.cl.msu.edu.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/apps/doc/A267421732/AONE?u=msu_main&sid=AONE&xid=12487763