Baby-boomer women's stories : gendered from primary school to retirement : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Social Anthropology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Gender inequality has had a major influence on the lives of women throughout history. Along with many western countries, New Zealand women protested for the right of suffrage, battled for decades in law courts to achieve personal autonomy over their own bodies, and played a role in the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Their aim was to achieve equal rights and greater personal freedoms, however, sometimes their own life experiences tell a different story. My research looks at the lives of a group of New Zealand women born into the baby boom generation, from the time they were part of the education system in the 1950s and 1960s, until the present day in their retirement. I examine their state of dependence within a patriarchal society and how feminism has unconsciously aided their journey through to the time they achieved their version of freedom later in life. The research conducted for this project involved a micro-level qualitative study using informal, semi-structured interviews with a specific group of women born into the generation known as baby boomers. The thesis shows that some areas of women’s lives have not benefitted from the feminist movement. In particular, the power and control that men continue to have over some women in the 21st century remains an under-explored area. The most significant theme to emerge from my analysis is that the participants were unaware that many of the events that took place during their life course were anything other than specific to them. Being part of a generation where problems at home were never discussed, they deserve to have their stories told.
gender inequality, feminism, patriarchy, power and control