Girls and Women Exploring Intergenerational Learning Through Storytelling

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McDonald, Cassandra
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The purpose of this study was to explore through storytelling intergenerational learning between grandmothers, mothers and daughters from four different families, an Indigenous family, an African Nova Scotian family, a White/Asian family and my own family, which is white. A feminist lens is used to understand the ideological positions that constrain women’s and girls’ choices and visions for future possibilities (Zaidi, 2013). Through semi-structured face to face interviews with the three women (a grandmother, a mother and a daughter) together from each of the four families, I examined the impact these relationships have on informal learning between generations of women to gain a better understanding of women’s advancement. My research question explored, what is it to be a girl. Under the larger overarching theme of intergenerational learning among women, the main themes that emerged from the participants’ stories are oppression, fear, resistance, social injustice and empowerment. This study highlights the importance of looking closer at intergenerational learning among women to gain a greater insight into lived realities women face now and throughout history. The narratives of the four families from three different generational perspectives using a storytelling approach, provided first-hand accounts of girls’ and women’s life stories. These stories expose the power of informal learning and help us to better understand the dynamics of women’s experiences and gender equality.
Storytelling , Informal learning , Intergenerational learning , Women , Family , Feminist , Narrative