Portuguese Immigrant Wome - Title: Portuguese Immigrant...

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Title: Portuguese Immigrant Women in Canada Author: Grace M. Anderson and J. Campbell Davis Source: Portuguese Migration in Global Perspective edited by David Higgs, 1990 The Multicultural History Society of Ontario, Toronto, pg. 136-144. Overview This article briefly summarizes the history of Portuguese immigrant women in Canada: when they arrived, under what circumstances, their role in the family’s immigration process, their adaptation to life in Canada and assimilation in Canadian society. The article speaks superficially with respect to the level of education of these women, the sorts of employment they are likely to hold as well as their income. In Depth The history of Portuguese immigrant women in Canada can be said to have begun in the mid-1950s. Prior to this period immigration from Portugal to Canada was limited almost exclusively to men. The latter, at first, came as explorers, followed by fishermen, adventurers and railway workers. Although many were married with children, virtually all initially came alone, leaving their wives behind to tend to the children and the farm. When the men deemed it appropriate, they called upon their families to join them (up to 10-12 years after their own departure). This period of family reunification of the Portuguese immigrant community began in the 1950s and by the late 1960s the number of female Portuguese immigrants to Canada outnumbered their male counterparts. Upon their arrival, Portuguese women were expected to find a home for their families, as well as furnish and tend to it. They were likewise expected to play a far greater role in the upbringing and education of the children than their menfolk. In addition, it was often women who contacted government agencies. According to Smith, the role of Portuguese women in Canadian society involves such chores as “giving inside information about the best places to shop, registering children in school and/or the family in the parish church, helping to obtain social security cards, getting the utilities connected; explaining the public transit system.” In other words, the role of Portuguese immigrant women in the immigration and assimilation process of their families has been a vital one. Assimilation
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This note was uploaded on 12/05/2011 for the course SOC SOC365 taught by Professor Kristawhitehead during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Portuguese Immigrant Wome - Title: Portuguese Immigrant...

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