Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2003


Does there exist a Cuban society that is culturally cohesive? Is Cubanidad dependent on territorial borders and political ideology? Can there be a singular narrative on Cubanidad that transcends geography and politics? This article asks those questions and posits that, while political and economic differences might result in very different lifestyles and ideologies, social and cultural tropes might provide some similarities and cultural cohesion. This thesis is tested through the study of available, albeit sparse, information on the role of Cubanas in society. First the role of women in Cuban society throughout history is examined. Next, changes in the laws pertaining to women in the post-Revolution era are analyzed as well as U.S. laws on equality as they affect all women, with particular attention to their significance to Cuban women within U.S. borders. Finally, the function of culture in defining the reality of Cuban women within the family structure is examined, both on the island as well as in the United States. The work concludes that culture trumps law and, for better or for worse, traditional cultural assumptions about sex roles, particularly roles within and with respect to the family, have persisted in both Cuban societies. Further study is likely to reveal additional commonalties with respect to attitudes in matters such as family, race, and sexuality. These common locations, in turn, can be utilized to build bridges to connect both Cubas. This work concludes with one particular bridge-building proposal that draws on the dedication to family of all Cubans.