Irish Female Emigration: The Views of Akenson and Lambert Essay example

1106 Words5 Pages
In the late nineteenth and twentieth century, 4 million women, especially young single women, emigrated from Ireland to various countries including The United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (Hayes and Urquhart 159). Donald Harman Akenson, author of “Women and the Irish Diaspora: The Great Unknown,” describes categories of fleeing women, which include: Young widows with children, married women with children, couples with no children, dependent females who were not yet marriageable, single women who can marry, women and unmarried women who were not able to marry (Akenson 162). Despite Akenson’s seemingly comprehensive conceptualization of Irish female immigrants, he fails to describe other dimensions of the emigrant…show more content…
Through excluding this group of emigrants from his description, Askenson portrays that all women who emigrated with children were either married or widowed and that this emigration was voluntary. Furthermore, the authors have discrepant explanations for women’s motivation to emigrate. Whereas Akenson describes that many women emigrated as a result of fleeing rigid familial, cultural, and economic structures, Lambert argues that this only constitutes a small portion of female emigrants. Akenson highlights that in post-famine Ireland, the familial-economic structure remained stagnant and did not grow with modernization. Under those circumstances, unmarried women could immigrate to increase their prospects of economic independence, marriage, and freedom. Specifically, Akenson notes that women who were emigrating did so to be “emancipated from the restrictive aspects of Irish culture” (166). Lambert, though she agrees that this accounts for some women, asserts that other women stayed connected to their families and even taught their children about Irish traditions and culture. She contends that Irish women closely associated with their Irish families and placed great value on this structure. Moreover, Lambert claims that most women emigrated for economic independence or for being a financial burden on their families, but only two women cited that they moved to “distance

    More about Irish Female Emigration: The Views of Akenson and Lambert Essay example

      Open Document