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East Timor

  • By: Justin Corfield
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

This former Portuguese colony, occupied by Indonesia from 1975 until 1999, had a population of 1.12 million in 2005, with a female life expectancy rate of 68.7 years. It has a birth rate of 27 per 1,000 population, and an infant mortality rate of 45.9 per 1,000 live births.

During the period of Portuguese colonial rule, outside Dili, the administrative capital, tribal society was largely unaffected. These societies involved clans who lived in villages, where women were responsible for traditional chores, including bringing up children, preparing food, and tending crops. The clinics established in Dili were essentially for the Portuguese, expatriates, and the local elite. In Tetun (or Tetum) society, a dowry—known as bride wealth—was paid by the bride's family. The newlywed couple then lived in ...

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