Gender, Migration and Settlement

The Indentureship and Post-indentureship Experience of Indian Females in Jamaica 1845–1943
  • Verene A. Shepherd


The biracial and multiracial character of Caribbean populations, and thus the longstanding recognition by Caribbean historians that there is no common historical experience of women in the region, has led to a considerable outpouring of scholarship which has taken into account differences based on class, caste, colour, race, ethnicity and occupation. Admittedly, there is still some imbalance in the research, with, understandably, more focus placed on the experiences of African-Caribbean women than on other groups of women. Nevertheless, there has been a commendable number of historical works on women belonging to other groups and this has altered the epistemological foundations of historical knowledge of the region. For example, since the 1970s, scholars have increasingly applied their research efforts to detailing the history of immigrant, specifically Indian, women in the Caribbean. The research on Indo-Jamaican women has, predictably, lagged behind the research on Indo-Trinidadian and Indo-Guyanese women; for compared with Guyana and Trinidad with their large populations of Indians, Jamaica imported just over 37,000 Indians in the post-slavery period. Only about one-third of the total imported comprised females.


Indian Population Wage Differential Indian Woman Agricultural Labourer Domestic Servant 
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  1. 28.
    V. Shepherd, ‘Emancipation through Servitude?: Aspects of the Condition of Indian Women in Jamaica, 1845–1945’, in H. Beckles and V. Shepherd (eds), Caribbean Freedom: Society and Economy from Emancipation to the Present (Ian Randle, Jamaica: James Currey, London, 1993), p. 246.Google Scholar
  2. 33.
    V. Shepherd, Transients to Settler: The Experience of Indians in Jamaica, 1845–1950 (Peepal Tree Press: Warwick University, Leeds, 1994), Chapter 6.Google Scholar
  3. 34.
    Pat Ellis, ‘Education and Women’s Place in Caribbean Society’, in P. Ellis, (ed.), Women of the Caribbean (London: Zed Books, 1986), pp. 91–100.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Department of History, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica 1995

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  • Verene A. Shepherd

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