Women in Hawaii

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Native Hawaiian women selling wares in Honolulu Harbor in 1920.
Present-day Hawaiian woman performing the Hula dance.

Women in Hawaii are women residing and are from the Hawaiian Islands. They are citizens of the United States because Hawaii is one of the 50 U.S. states. Hawaiian women descended from Polynesians who migrated, in two waves, to Hawaii. Together with men and children, the first wave of Polynesian women who became known as women of Hawaii came from the Marquesas Islands, probably about AD 400; the second wave of female Polynesian migrants came from Tahiti to Hawaii in the 9th or 10th century. In general, like Hawaiian men, Hawaiian women were people who have brown skin with straight or wavy black hair. Their fine physique were large, and is similar to the body features of the Māori people living in New Zealand. The language of Hawaii people resembled that of the New Zealand Maori.[1]

During the 1820s the newly arrived missionaries from New England described the women of Hawaii as "lazy women", because "they were shocked by what they perceived as the idleness of women". During that time, the native women of Hawaii were at an advantageous position because of the "usual division of labor", wherein men were described to have been undertaking the "bulk of heavy labor in building, fishing and agriculture". Hawaiian men also cooked the meals; while Hawaiian women handcrafted "highly-valued" mats and barkcloth. The female members of Hawaiian society also collected shellfish, and they were more closely involved in the care of infants. Women, as well as men, did not wear much clothing. Young Hawaiian women at the time had little duties. For the 1820s missionaries, Hawaiians - women and men alike - did not appear to "have enough work to do. Their free time was spent in swimming and surfing, in cardplaying, boxing matches, games, cockfights, hulas and other traditional games of skill or chance. In a missionary school, surfboards were used as tables for women to study."[1]

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