Gender Roles in Economics

While the gender roles are not identical, they are equivalent. Both behaviorally and ideologically they are of equal importance for societal functioning. Male and female roles are thus interlinked, forming a whole. It is difficult for an adult man or woman to operate a household without a spouse. Husband and wife should "balance each other." The symmetry of roles and their balance is also symbolized in there being only one kin term to indicate either a husband or a wife.

Men clear and burn the swiddens, and women help clear debris before planting. Both men and women plant, weed, and harvest the swiddens. Threshing is done by men. Men plant fruit trees, weed them, and tend them to maturity. Such trees are owned by the family of the person who initially planted them and are devolved on their offspring. Many of these trees survive for several generations. Men care for and raise dogs for hunting and water buffalo. Women care for pigs and chickens. In hunting and gathering, men hunt large game with spears, catch fish with traps and nets, and gather honey and orchard fruits. Women gather snails and shellfish, fish with scoops for small fish and prawns, fish with fish poles for larger fish, and collect wild roots, nuts, berries, and vegetables.

The domestic activities of men include collecting firewood and making knives, rope, fish traps, and carrying baskets. Women husk the family's rice supplies, prepare and cook food, and carry water. They raise cotton, dye it, and weave it into clothing. They embroider elaborate strips of decoration on sarongs. Women also make rice winnowing trays and a variety of baskets for general household use. Men market agricultural surpluses and bargain for brassware and gongs. Women sell the valuable ceremonial clothes that they weave. A woman as a spirit medium receives payment for curing illness and righting ritual imbalance.

Women are in charge of the ritual aspects of birth, while certain men are skilled as birth facilitators. This facilitator pushes with his foot against the womb of a woman in labor each time a contraction occurs.

Inheritance tends to be homoparental; that is, female ornaments such as beads, brasswire neck adornments, armlets, leg brass, and female clothing usually go to daughters, while gongs, jars, and brassware tend to go to sons. But there are no sanctions requiring this form of inheritance. If the family has sufficient property in gongs and jars, they may devolve some on female children.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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