Change in Attitudes Beliefs and Practices Regarding Gender

Many changes have occurred in Abelam society since the ethnographic baseline presented here. Increasing exposure to western culture and the continuing education of both genders has resulted in social change that has generally been in the direction of western patterns. Polygyny is much less common today, for instance. The sexual division of labor has become less marked. At the same time, family violence seems to be increasing. Young people's families have increasingly less say in whom they marry, and marriages appear to be less stable than before. Belief in the tambaran cult has declined, and male initiation has been abbreviated where it still exists. Many children attend school, and the long periods of seclusion during adolescence have been eliminated or greatly attenuated. Ceremonial yam growing is still important, but many taboos have been relaxed. As a result, sexual activities are more frequent and less carefully controlled, and the Abelam population has burgeoned. Wage labor has opened up new opportunities for women. The Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and the National Goals and Directive Principles both explicitly recognize the rights of women in various realms, including political behavior. It will be interesting to see what changes in Abelam gender ideology result.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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