November 3, 2012, Saturday, 307

Role of women

From From the Island to the City: Dominican Communities in New York City

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Women and Income

During the past few years, women have been contributing a large sum of their incomes to help run their families and have become the breadwinners.[1] Many of the Dominican families are female-headed because many are widowed, divorced, separated, or not married. These women carry more than one job to support their families. In New York City especially, more Dominican women are seen to be working because there are more job opportunities. Even though society constrains females from working, many have no choice but to maintain a job to support their families[2]. Dominican women are more likely to stay in New York City rather than go back home because of the economic opportunities present for them in the U.S. In the Dominican Republic it isn’t common for a woman with a spouse to work.[3] In economic terms, the status of females is increasing while the status of Dominican immigrants as a whole seems to remain stagnant.

This picture shows Dominican women working at a sweatshop. Many women have to get jobs such as this in order to support their families.

Women in Business

There are several organizations in New York City that help Dominican women support their families. One such organization is the Dominican Women's Development Center.

One type of female headed business run by Dominicans in NYC are Dominican Salons. There are websites such as and other ways to find Dominican salons.

Dominican women working at a salon

Dominican Hair Salons

Dominican salons are not just businesses run by women, but they are one of the most intimate social gathering areas for females in this immigrant group. The salons are a place to socialize, to tell each other about their jobs, and to share stories from back home. It is a place where everyone shares an identity of being Dominican and can feel comfortable about it. In the following video, Maridalia, one of our group members talks about her experiences in the Dominican salon she always visits and how that has played a role in her life.



  1. United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW). Dominican Migration to USA. 2008. <>
  2. Gurak, Douglas T., Kritz, Mary M. Social Context, Household Composition and Employment among Migrant and Nonmigrant Dominican Women. International Migration Review. The Center of Migration Studies of New York, Inc. Vol. 30, No. 2 (Summer, 1996), pp. 399-422
  3. Foner, Nancy. Benefits and Burdens: Immigrant Women and Work in New York City. Gender Issues. Fall 1998.
  4. Shekeima Dockery Interviews Maridalia Martinez in May 2010