Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories

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"I felt like an alien who fell down to earth, not understanding the rules of the game, making all the possible mistakes, saying all the wrong things."

"Your whole life is in the hands of other people who do not always mean well and there is nothing you can do about it. They can decide to send you away and you have no control."

"The moment I enter the house, I shelve my American self and become the 'little obedient wife' that my husband wants me to be."

"The most difficult part is to find myself again. At the beginning I lost myself."

This jargon-free book documents and analyzes the experience of immigration from the female perspective. It discusses the unique challenges that women face, offers insights into the meanings of their experiences, develops gender-sensitive knowledge about immigration, and discusses implications for the effective development and provision of services to immigrant women. With fascinating case studies of immigration to the United States, Australia, and Israel as well as helpful lists of relevant organizations and Web site/Internet addresses, Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories is for everyone who wants to learn or teach about immigration, especially its female face.

"It was like somebody sawed my heart in two. One part remained in Cuba and one part here."

Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories examines the nature of immigration for women through the eyes of those who have experienced it: how they perceive, interpret, and address the nature of the experience, its multiple aspects, the issues that it presents, and the strategies that immigrant women develop to cope with those issues. The women in this extraordinary book came from different spots around the globe, speak different languages and dialects, and their English comes in different accents. They vary in age as well as in cultural, ethnic, social, educational, and professional status. They represent a rainbow of family types and political opinions. In spite of their diversity, all these women share immigration experience. This book provides an understanding of the journeys they traveled and the experiences they lived to bring you new insights into what it means to immigrate as a woman and to frame effective strategies for working with—and for—immigrant women.

"My father is the head of the house. When he decided to move to America [from India] my mother and us, the daughters, did not have much say. My mother and I were not happy at all, but it did not matter."

Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories provides you with historical and global perspectives on immigration and addresses:

  • legal, political, economic, social, and psychological dimensions of immigration and its aftermath
  • deconstructing immigration by age, gender, and circumstances
  • major issues of immigrant women—language, mothering, relationships and marriage, finding employment, assimilation (how much and how soon), loneliness, and more
  • resilience in immigrant women
  • immigration from a lesbian perspective
  • guidelines for the development and delivery of services to immigrant women

"You may say that I am the bridge, the desert generation that lost the chance to have it my way. But I will do my best to raise my daughters to have more choices than I."

In this well-referenced book, immigrant women from Austria, Bosnia, Cuba, various parts of the former Soviet Union, Guatemala, India, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, and the Philippines tell us their stories, recount what their experiences entailed and what challenges they posed, and teach us ways to help them cope successfully.

"This was the best decision we could have made and the best thing we had ever done."

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What People Are Saying

Barbara Ribakove Gordon
Roni Berger is not only a skilled interviewer, but brings to her work the added advantage of being, like her subjects, an immigrant woman with a foreign accent. As a result, she has been able to elicit personal, even painful, revelations from women struggling to make new lives in a new world. I LEARNED A GREAT DEAL FROM BERGER'S BOOK. (Founder and Director, North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry)
Julia Mirsky
A WELCOME AND IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION to the growing literature on immigrant women. . . . Skillfully and sensitively presented by the author, an immigrant herself, who also tells her personal story. These women are so different, yet alike—Sonia, who came to New York from war-torn Beirut; Rosa, who left the impoverished Philippines in search of a better life in Australia; Ana, who fled her disintegrating homeland, Russia, and came to Israel—all tell their stories of migration, loss, confusion, struggle, and . . . growth. Indeed, one of the most unique contributions of this book is its focus on the empowering aspect of women's migration. The reader has the privilege of sharing in this experience. The first and last sections offer an excellent scientific perspective and analysis of the collective experience of immigrant women. (Consultant on Immigration Issues; Clinical Psychologist; Head, Graduate Program in Social Work, Ben-Gurion University, Israel)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789018298
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: How and Why This Book was Born
Part I: Understanding and Studying Women’s Migration
Chapter 1. Immigration: The Process and Its Aftermath
Developmental Aspect of Immigration
Effects of Immigration
Women and Immigration
Chapter 2. Method: How the Research for this Book was Done
Assumptions and Principles of Qualitative Research
Interviewing in Qualitative Research
Understanding Women Perspective
Conducting the Interviews
The Sample
Analysis of the Interviews
Part II: Stories of Immigrant Women
Chapter 3. My Story: An Immigrant Daughter of an Immigrant Mother
Chapter 4. Immigrants to the U.S.
Chapter 5. Immigrants to Israel
Chapter 6. Immigrants to Australia
Part III: Conclusions and Implications
Chapter 7. Major Themes in Women’s Narratives
Resilience of Immigrant Women: Flexible Strength
The Double Life of Immigrant Women: Coping with Duality
Gains and Losses
Summary: Main Findings
Chapter 8. Implications for Service Development and Delivery
Advantages and Disadvantages of Specialized Services for Immigrant Women
Direct Services to Individuals and Families
Community Programs
A Multi-Service Center for Immigrant Women: A Viable Solution
Immigrant Women Organizations
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