Generational Change and Persistence: Gender Equality in the Life Course of Low-Income Brazilian Women

Monday, July 14, 2014: 8:06 PM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Patricia OLIVEIRA DIAS , PUC-RS, Brazil
Social, economic and political changes in the Brazilian society since redemocratization have strongly impacted relational and material conditions of low-class families. Acute transformations took place especially in the realms of motherhood, women's participation in the labor market, division of domestic labor and domestic violence throughout the last decades, as reflected in the life course of women. This paper presents results from qualitative research with two or three generations of women in urban, low-class families in Brazil. The interviews were conducted with several families as part of two research projects in recent years.

The reconstruction of women’s life stories and biographical self-presentations will highlight the reproduction or transformation of social patterns against the backdrop of new socioeconomic configurations and social policies. This reconstruction will trace, on the one hand, the changes in the perception of women's role in society and family as it relates to gender equality. On the other hand, it will be discussed how women experience their embeddedness in family structures as influencing decisions on migration, access to labor market and to education.

For that, the life paths of two or three generations of women from large cities in Southeast-Brazil will be presented. The analysis of the narrative interviews, following the reflexive-reconstructive biographical method, focuses on how the interviewed women define their life course between opportunities and constraints. This is seen in close relation with the social developments taking place around the subjects, as postulated by the biographical policy analysis. The research results can also cast a light on different patterns of generational intercontingency found in the same social milieu.