Cultural Construction of Gender

Historically, gender roles were defined by the Sakhas' agropastoralist subsistence, raising horses and cattle in the harsh Siberian climate with average winter temperatures of — 50°F. Women were confined to work in the inside environment and were dominant in the care and socialization of children. Their work was varied and consisted of maintaining the living area, preparing and preserving food, making and repairing the family clothing, making containers and utensils of hides, hair, birch bark, and clay, and tending the herds in the barns throughout the long 9-month winter. Men were responsible for outside tasks. The list was equally long, and included the daily gathering of firewood, the procuring of drinking water, the building and repair of all homestead structures, hunting and fishing, the harvesting of sufficient hay to overwinter the herds, the tending to all the daily outside work for the herds, managing the fences for the hay fields, and the slaughtering of the herds. In the brief months of summer, both sexes worked and toiled in the warmth of the long subarctic days. Men cut the hay while women raked it into small piles or buguls. Only men hunted and fished while the women foraged for berries, roots, and herbs.

As mentioned earlier, Soviet-period changes from household-level subsistence to state-run agriculture altered the Sakhas' historically based gender roles to the extent that women were employed outside the home as much as men on the collective and state farms. However, the women continued to be the major worker in the home, resulting in a double burden of external work and domestic chores during this period (Buckley, 1989). In postSoviet times women, who are now more likely to be employed than their male counterparts, continue to carry this double burden.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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