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By Rosemary Barrington and Alison Gray

This book is concerned with the social forces that influence how women live - with social pressures, the constraints of social class, the impact of the various stages of the life cycle and generational change. While we are interested in exploring how far women are willing and able to take responsibility for their own lives, we first had to find out what they did and felt as their lives progressed. To do this we have focussed on how they perceive their roles because that has a profound influence on the way they act. The main female roles we have looked at are daughter, school-girl, adolescent, worker, wife, mother, friend and neighbour.

Transition points between roles interest us and are marked by events like leaving school, choosing a job, getting married, having a child and going back to work. At each of these points some sort of decision has to be made, whether concious or unconcious, forced or free, arbitrary or informed. We are aware that social pressures militate against choice and that many women in New Zealand are never exposed to situations which show that there is more than one way of doing things. To this extent, they cannot be said to have a real choice. Nevertheless, we want to know whether these restricted opportunities are common to all women or whether they are unevenly distributed by social class, life cycle stage and age.

"You don't really come across many women who have gone places. I don't know why. Why shouldn't there be? How do women start making themselves heard?"
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  • Seller location: Hastings, Hawke's Bay, NZ

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