My Children, My Gold: Meetings with Women of the Fourth World // Review

By Taylor, Debbie | New Internationalist, November 1994 | Go to article overview

My Children, My Gold: Meetings with Women of the Fourth World // Review


Taylor, Debbie, New Internationalist


Perhaps I had too much,' says Jomuna, a widow in India. 'A good husband. Two beautiful children. Something had to be taken away.' Jomuna's fatalism mirrors the sentiments of many of the other single mothers that Debbie Taylor visits in this globe - trotting portrait of women in seven countries. All are women of the 'Fourth World' - Taylor's term for the woman - headed households that now make up a quarter of the world's families. These women may be divorced, widowed or single parents but they are all caught in the snare of poverty which is made worse by the shackling effects of patriarchy. As a Hindu widow Jomuna may not marry again. In China, no man will marry Hua since she already has a daughter from her first marriage. The one - child policy seems to apply only to women: men may jettison the girl - bearing wife and try again for the preferred male offspring.

Debbie Taylor draws a sensitive picture of the women and their surroundings. The 'new girl' prostitute in Trindade, Brazil, 'who couldn't have been older than sixteen' is described as 'winsome and willowy with fierce red lipstick on her uncertain mouth'. …

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