Posted in Hawaii & South Pacific

Exploring the Pacific Women



Traditionally, Pacific women were confined to the home, while the men would handle most matters outside the immediate family. The clear-cut roles of women as homemaker and men as defender and decision-maker gave stability to village life. In Melanesia and Polynesia the woman was responsible for working the land and doing most of the housework, thus elevating the status of the man as head of the family.

Western education caused many Pacific women to question their subordinate position. Their changing lifestyle made the old relationship between the sexes outmoded. As paid employment expanded, and women, thanks to family planning, could hold jobs, they began to demand equal treatment from society. Polynesian women were more emancipated than their Melanesian sisters, with tradition manipulating it so that women are denied the right to be heard in public on community matters.

Female students were encouraged to go into low-paying fields such as nursing or secretarial services. In garment and other factories, women are exploited via low wages and poor working conditions. Domestic violence was prevalent and, in Fiji, suicide in women is 7 times higher than they world average.

Cite for September Posts: Stanley, D., South Pacific Handbook.



Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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