Correlation of Female Trinidadians, Bermudians, Sri-Lankans' Feminist Identity Development, and Self-Esteem: Reflection of Social Role Theory

By Bissessar, Charmaine | Advancing Women in Leadership, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Correlation of Female Trinidadians, Bermudians, Sri-Lankans' Feminist Identity Development, and Self-Esteem: Reflection of Social Role Theory


Bissessar, Charmaine, Advancing Women in Leadership


Self-esteem and feminist identity development share symbiotic dyads. Agentic and communal characteristics shape females' identity and determine whether they see themselves as products or producers of their social system and display descriptive and/ or injunctive or prescriptive patterns of behavior. The aforementioned theoretical frameworks form the backdrop for my research which involved 40 Trinidadians, 20 Bermudians, and 38 Sri Lankans females ages 18 to 64. In my quantitative methodology study, I incorporated the Feminist Identity Development Scale (FIDS, Bargad & Hyde, 1991) and Rosenberg's (1965) Self-Esteem Model (RSE) to determine whether or not there was a significant correlation between Trinidadian and Bermudian females' self-esteem and feminist identity development. Descriptive statistics implementing a correlation matrix with the use of Mega Stats Add-Ins with MicrosoftExcel determined that no significant correlation existed between Trinidadian and Bermudian female participants for their RSE and FIDS respectively. Additionally, one way ANOVA tests showed the correlation: (a) within sample group- Trinidadian females with no significant correlation between their FIDS and RSE; (b) within sample group- Afro and Indo- Trinidadians there was no significant correlation of RSE and a slight positive correlation of .0467 between participants' subscales of FIDS; (c) within sample group- there was no significant correlation between Bermudian participants' RSE but a significant negative correlation between subscales of FIDS; (d) within sample group- Sri Lankan females showed a significant negative correlation between subscales of FIDS; (e) among sample groups- Bermudian, Sri Lankan, and Trinidadian females there was a significant negative correlation among their RSE and no significant correlation of their FIDS. The findings corroborate other conclusions on FIDS and RSE and the social role theory.

Keywords: Feminist identity development, social role theory

Introduction

The Global Gender Gap (2012) ranked countries where disparities in equal opportunities for men and women exist. The Global Gender Gap Index (2012) examined four pillars of gender parity: (a) economic participation and opportunity; (b) educational attainment; (c) health and survival; and (d) political empowerment. Based on the Global Gender Gap Index, Sri Lanka ranked 39th, Trinidad and Tobago was at 43rd, and Bermuda was not included.

The problem of women being forced to adhere to strict gender roles continues to be one of the major deterrents in women's empowerment, self-esteem and feminist identity development. As women's empowerment advances at an exponential rate and more women are finding avenues to break the stereotypical notion of what a woman should do and what qualities she should possess there is need to determine what she does and how she defines herself within the gendered structure. As the story of Mala Yousafzai revealed, women are finding ways to transcend the boundaries made for them by society and cultural belief systems. Understanding how women's roles continue to evolve is essential in examining the leadership potential in each society and determining the social role construct therein. As women seek to redefine themselves in the ever changing processes of life, empowerment, identity, and self-esteem become the significant intangible qualities needed for optimal functioning in society. The need to examine the social role construct and the prevalence of women who are defined as possessing more communal or more agentic characteristics and adhering to prescriptive rather than descriptive behaviour stereotypes is significant in the feminist identity development and self-esteem sphere.

Feminist identity, self-esteem and the social role construct are vital elements of what comprises women's empowerment, resilience and how they see themselves. Eisele and Stake (2008) linked feminist identity and positive mental health. …

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