By Joan Rawlins
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Extra resources for Midlife And Older Women: Family Life, Work And Health in Jamaica
We cannot take it for granted, though, that the women would not have their oﬀspring living with them if the relationship had been otherwise, as the shortage of reasonably priced rental units in Jamaica in 1990–91 rendered a certain amount of house sharing inevitable. The ﬁndings here about the reasonably good relations aﬃrmed the ﬁndings of an earlier study (Rawlins 1988), which showed that women in two communities similar to the ones reported here were pleased with their relationships with their resident children, with middle-class women expressing slightly more satisfaction with these relationships than working-class women.
It has been argued that women who are heads of household are particularly aﬀected negatively by the eﬀects of structural adjustment. Antrobus (1987) for example, argued that some of the policies have been so damaging to low-income households that it is clear that they have failed to take women into consideration. In Jamaica, structural adjustment removed a number of beneﬁts previously provided by the state. indb 26 Midlife and Older Women 12/4/2005 6:12:26 PM from the state to the household, structural adjustment policies increased the burden on the poor, especially women.
8 Almost all of the women in the middle-class community (Hope Pastures), that is 90 per cent, had been married at one time or another, compared with 48 per cent of the women in the working-class community (August Town). The data indicate that 41 per cent of the August Town sample and 61 per cent of the Hope Pastures sample were married or in a common-law relationship at the time of the survey. What women do for their families will be inﬂuenced by whether or not they are the heads of their families.