Immigrant Women: Nowhere at Home and Women’s Place in the History of Irish Diaspora

Immigrant Women: Nowhere at Home and Women’s Place in the History of Irish Diaspora

“Immigrant Women: Nowhere at Home” by Donna Gabaccia explores the studies of women in comparison to the studies of immigrant women. Gabaccia argues that both studies require an important look at the history of families and how women are identified in family life. Women’s studies usually disassociate that women had positive experiences in the strictly patriarchal confines of family life. However, Gabaccia argues, that immigrant women actually had positive experiences within their roles in the family due to the notion that families in the 1970’s were women centered which gave women in the families a sense of authority. Women’s sense of identity was within the family and that the world outside made women vulnerable to economic exploitation and cultural alienation.


“Women’s Place in the History of Irish Diaspora” by Janet Nolan discusses the importance of fully introducing the effects Irish women had on both Ireland and the United States during the Irish Diaspora. Nolan explains that huge numbers of Irish women, sometimes surpassing numbers in Irish men, helped create Irish America through their journeys across the Atlantic. Since many of the women who immigrated to the United States were unmarried, they were able to enter the work field whether it be as domestic servants or as workers in the urban and industrial eras. Women were facing the same economic and physical challenges as men and earning wages that would be extremely beneficial for both the United States and Ireland. With their wages, women were able to bring their families from Ireland to America or even send their families money to help after the Great Famine. They were also able to use their wages to fund the American Catholic church. All of these reasons, Nolan argues, are crucial to the study of the Irish Diaspora and argues that without acknowledging the extreme contribution Irish women had on Irish national and ethnic identity as well as forging Irish America, the Irish Diaspora would be distorted until women are fully integrated into the history.

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