Mormon women at work in Nicaragua

Authored by: Amanda Talbot Tew

The Routledge Handbook of Mormonism and Gender

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815395218
eBook ISBN: 9781351181600
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351181600-34

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Abstract

This paper examines the lives of Latter-day Saint women in Nicaragua, with a specific focus on their employment. The paper draws from oral interviews of LDS women living in Diriamba and Granada, Nicaragua, as well as from my experience living and participating in the LDS Church in Nicaragua with my husband and children. In contrast to the traditional North American LDS ideal of stay-at-home motherhood, LDS women in Nicaragua generally view paid labor outside of the home as part of their standard duties of motherhood, reflecting the emphasis Nicaraguan culture places on hard-working women. Due to poverty and political instability, most LDS Nicaraguan women work merely to survive, yet their work also provides autonomy, empowerment, and protection from abuse. Unfortunately unequal gender power dynamics in Nicaraguan culture affect both women’s employment choices and their control over economic resources within marriage. The LDS Church implements programs in Nicaragua to engender self-reliance in both men and women, but often the burden to provide still falls on mothers. As the LDS Church in Nicaragua becomes more established, we will observe whether the constructs of men’s and women’s roles change significantly among church members.

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