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Essay Paper on Haitian Women in History

Haitian Women in History Women in Haïti have been for a long time silenced. Their heroic acts during slavery and for the independence of Haïti have not been acknowledged. The women of Haïti have been and still are making a huge impact on society and on how their state is constructed. They have long fought for their right and created women’s movements. Their bodies were controlled and violated. Rape and torture was use as a way to intimidate the women and also to make them pay for action made by people other than them.

My paper will analyse the way women where portrayed and the important role these Haïtian women played, especially during and after the Duvalierist regime. I will talk about the way in which they where reduced to inferior in their status and also about the violence that they were subject to, paying a particular attention to the rape of women. I will also take a look at the emergence of the many women’s movements in Haïti and the ones started by Haïtians in Canada or the United States. Finally I will look at women writers and their role. My attention will be focus on two novels by Edwidge Danticat: Krik? Krak? and Breath, Eyes, Memory.

This paper will try to show how women reclaimed their identity and their right to all be different. Women in Haiti have always played an important role in its history. They fiercely fought along side with men to free Haiti and stop slavery. However, even after they had won the battle for independence, women were still seen as inferior and all their efforts, forgotten. President Dessalines’ Independence Constitution of 1805 provided in article 9 that “no one I worthy of being a Haitian if he is not a good father, a good son, a good husband, and above all, a good soldier#. Here we see how women were not seen as worthy of being a Haitian.

They are from the beginning inferiorised by men. This belief of the inferiority of women remained. Their place was associated whit home and domestic chores. They were seen as mother and wives and not as equal citizens. But women were far from being only mothers and wives. They were large contributors of the Haitian history. Even before fighting for the independence they were already turning to ways to reclaim their identity and take control over their body. women have always been associated with motherhood and as reproducers. Their sexuality was controlled by the slaves’ owners who wanted them to have many children so that it would make more work force on the plantation.

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