A Cohort Analysis of Femininity among Catholic Women in Cork, Ireland

Author: Haley Gray
Major: Sociology
Approved: Fall 2019
Status: In progress

Starting this research, I noticed a lack of female perspectives in regard to the Catholic Church. While Catholic women and their histories have been written on, most pieces only recognize their lack of power. I want to understand how women express their feminine identity, while also maintaining their Catholic identity. While I study abroad for a semester in Cork, Ireland, I will be conducting an analysis across age-cohorts to determine how femininity is expressed with those who identify as female and Catholic. My age cohorts will be college aged women (18-22) and older women (30 and up). I will be using qualitative and quantitative research methods such as participant observation, in-depth and semi- structured interviews and focus groups to collect my data. Topics of femininity that I will be studying include opinions on family size, motherhood, having children, dating, and expression through fashion among much more. The aim of this research is to study the everyday lives of Irish Catholic women and analyze their gender expressions through opinions and actions. I will be using a deductive approach and will be applying sociological theories and past research studies, specifically feminist and gender theory, as the method to understand the data I will be collecting, and eventually to frame the article I will write. In the first semester of my project I will spend time conducting a literary review of topics associated with this research, including feminist movements in the Irish Catholic church, the Catholic Church in general, and femininity within different religious organizations. Before I leave for Cork, Ireland I will find and contact 2 Catholic Churches to use in my research. During the third semester of my research I will be putting together a 20 to 30-page article based on my ethnographic research and preparing to present at a conference.