Women's Decision-Making: Common Themes . . . Irish Voices

Women's Decision-Making: Common Themes . . . Irish Voices

Women's Decision-Making: Common Themes . . . Irish Voices

Women's Decision-Making: Common Themes . . . Irish Voices

Synopsis

Essential characteristics of Women's decision-making have long been ignored or, if considered at all, have been viewed in relationship to male-based factors. Veeder, drawing on experiences of Irish women, establishes that women making important choices do so differently than men. The women, ranging in age from as young as thirteen to over sixty-five, were divided into three age groupings, thereby offering insights into variables over much of the life-span. Themes, born from common experiences emerge from the poignant, compelling accounts of individual women. The author's analysis and commentary structure the book's development and maintain its focus on the context wherein women make their private, but immensely important, decisions--the family. Education, vocation, marriage, and childbearing are considered relative to the thought and emotional factors that influenced the women's decisions. Veeder concludes that women show strength and insight in their approach to choices. She sees women, in comparison with men, as taking more factors into consideration, being more aware of consequences, being more practical, flexible, and valuing of relationships. Women's participation in the workforce and their increased societal roles make this a most timely book. It is, too, an important contribution to, and stimulus for, additional research on gender and decision-making.

Excerpt

My Irish connections made this study possible, and so very enjoyable to carry out. My most profound debt is to the one hundred Northern Irish women who graciously gave an hour or more of their time to tell me, in exquisite detail and with characteristically wondrous humor and insight, about unsung, yet always significant in impact, decision-making throughout their life courses. Each one told a whole life story, unique yet similar and very familiar. I am in awe of their accomplishments, their strength, their wisdom, and their humanity. They humbled me by telling me over and over again something I should have known well as a woman: We suffer "theory" about us very lightly; life we live rather well despite it.

I am also appreciative that these wonderful women confirmed for me my former simply gut reaction as a woman, namely, that ordinary women in the ordinary contexts of families, friends, school, work, and life in general make extraordinarily sound and strong decisions, by weighing all the facts and feelings at their disposal. That this actual way of making decisions is contrary to most existing theory about how women are supposed to make decisions is an exceedingly important additive to the understanding of women's development.

For reasons of promised confidentiality I cannot mention the one hundred participants by name, although I would love to accord them the recognition they so deserve. Despite my attempts to generalize the experiences of my Northern Irish participants, then, each will always remain a friend for me. I would also like to thank the eleven women from Boston and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for agreeing to be interviewed. They . . .

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