National Center for Farmworker Health
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A Radio Model: A Community Strategy To Address The Problems and Needs of Mexican American Women Farmworkers

Author: Lopez-Trevino, Maria Elena
Date Published: 1989

Interviews with 60 Mexican-American female farmworkers in the Coachella Valley (CA) identified their major problems, needs, and suggestions of topics to be presented in a community-based educational radio program. Two major problems identified by these women were low wages and occupational exposure to pesticides. Contrary to cultural stereotypes, most of the women were in cooperative rather than highly traditional marital relationships. This result does not support the assumptions that the low socioeconomic and political status of women farmworkers is due to the traditional gender value system of the Mexican-American community. Eleven main topics were developed for the community-based radio program based on the needs, problems, and themes articulated in the interviews. The program aimed to empower women Farmworkers through access to information about their rights and about community services and resources, while negating the "blaming the victim" ideology prevalent in the professional community. The 11 topics and methods of presentation are outlined. Among the topics are political, economic, and educational discrimination; available adult education programs and child care alternatives; and higher education for farmworkers' children. Due to controversy and reluctance among community professionals, the radio program was not implemented. However, unexpectedly, the Chicana interviewers involved in the project formed a women's political support group to empower and organize campesinas.

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Number of Pages: 184