Gender Roles in Economics

Males and females participate equally in the process of production, and carry out more or less the same activities. Both go to sea and fish, and both collect strand products and sell the surplus to Chinese traders. The sexual division of labor at sea is complementary—one of the two spears fish, while the other rows. In contrast, hunting is largely a male task, whereas collecting crustaceans, shellfish, and the like is usually done by women and children. Housework and domestic work is done jointly—repairing boats or pile-dwellings, gathering firewood, and cooking, as well as raising and educating children. Hence there is almost no sex-specific division of labor, except when biologically necessary (for instance, taking care of babies by nursing mothers), and men's and women's labor is equally important for family subsistence.

Women's contribution to daily subsistence equals that of men. Because women produce a sizeable proportion of food, they are able to provide for the family on their own in case of divorce, or in case of their husbands' illness or death. With regard to financial matters, the women have the main responsibility. They save all the money and do the shopping. Since property is only minimal, inheritance is not an issue.

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