Gender Roles in Economics

Herding is basically a man's job, and only males go to the highest pastures. If there are no sons, shepherds are hired by the well-to-do; in less wealthy families little girls herd near home from the age of 6 or 7 until they are about 10; after this they may also go to graze during the day, but only if accompanied by their fathers or siblings. Adult men are also exclusively responsible for negotiating the sale of herd animals and the access to pasture in farmers' stubbles or fallows. However, the contribution of women to subsistence—through processing milk, gathering food, tending the ewes, lambs, and kids, etc.—is about as much as that of men (Casimir, 1991; Rao, 1998a).

Following Islamic norms, all children must inherit their share of all parental property, a daughter's share being half that of a son's (Rao, 1992, 2003). Intergenerationally transmittable parental property consists primarily of herd animals, access to pasture, cash, and, among the very rich, jewelry. Theoretically then, only the paternal herd size and the number of children are of importance. In practice, however, a herd is divided primarily among the sons, with each son's share depending on the size of the father's herd and the number of unmarried male siblings at the time of separation from the parental household. While men obtain herd animals through anticipatory inheritance, women get only a few through dowry (Rao, 1998b), the greater part of which consists of cash and jewelry. When the paternal herd is divided, so also are the rights to pasture. These are transmitted along the male line, since married daughters usually shift residence and move out of the paternal area. However, a daughter's son or an only daughter's husband can obtain pasture rights if he is adopted as heir.

The animals that a woman receives as dowry form the core of her theoretical herd and are legally considered her exclusive property, but in practice there is no separation between husband's and wife's property. However, the cash obtained from the sale of these animals is retained by the woman. She is also free to gift these animals and in case of a divorce they remain her property. On death a woman ideally leaves 40% of her animals to her sons and 60% to her daughters.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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