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Cadernos de Estudos Africanos

Print version ISSN 1645-3794


NASCIMENTO, Augusto. The Santomean women’s association in Lisbon: A matter of gender?. Cadernos de Estudos Africanos [online]. 2012, n.24, pp.117-139. ISSN 1645-3794.

This paper proposes an analysis of the efforts of Santomean women residing in the Lisbon area to build their association and thus, if possible, to improve their lives. Common origin and shared histories of difficulties experienced by Santomean immigrant women in the Lisbon area provide the grounds for this grassroots endeavour. The difficulties Santomean women struggle with everyday are related in part to the usual obstacles faced by immigrants, but often stem also from the unequal gender distribution of family and other responsibilities among Santomeans. Despite the difficulties arising from the condition of immigrants, and despite the idealization of the homeland when abroad, many women do not consider turning back, for they take into account the disadvantages of returning to the archipelago regarding the balance of gender relations and the consolidation of family plans - even when they don’t articulate this motives quite explicitly. Daily life in Lisbon is hard, but it is also less uncertain in what concerns the durability of family life projects. Based on testimonies of Santomean women living in the Lisbon area, this article aims to explore some hypotheses of interpretation of Santomean women’s situation and their practices of mutual-help, considering especially the (cautious) modelling of gender relations, easier in the context of migration than in the homeland.

Keywords : São Tomé and Príncipe; immigrant women associations; gender relations; diaspora.

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