Gender Roles in Economics

Both men and women inherit land and property bilaterally. Married couples work their lands together but maintain individual ownership; in the event of separation, each retains their own. At death, land ownership is divided among the deceased's children or, if there are no children, to a sibling—very rarely to a spouse. In general, men are responsible for maintaining corn and bean fields (clearing, plowing, fertilizing), gathering firewood, woodworking, hunting, building, and working for ejido (communal lands) lumber operations. Women are responsible for preparing food, childcare, sewing clothes, weaving wool and baskets, fetching water, preparing tesguino, and, usually, caring for livestock (goats, sheep, horses, and cattle). Both genders participate in planting, weeding, harvesting, and storing crops, and gathering wild foods and medicines. Many men and some women work outside the community for cash on a seasonal basis, often as migrant agricultural laborers in the lowlands of Sinaloa, Sonora, and Chihuahua. Others work permanently in Mexican cities, coming to the sierra only to visit on holidays. Some women (and fewer men) sell traditional artisanry for cash and there is limited employment in the tourist trade of the Copper Canyon, mostly as guides and hotel employees. Some families participate in drug-growing businesses in the barrancas. Division of labor is defined but not immutable; depending on personal affinity men may participate in any or all of "women's work" and vice versa (though women tend not to travel and work far from home) without fear of ridicule or censure. Homosexuals or people of "reversed" gender will often be identified primarily by their affinity for the work and lifestyle of the other sex, rather than by sexual practices.

The most important form of trade in Tarahumara communities is labor trade, in which both men and women participate. Though fertile land and its produce is owned by individuals, the bulk of it is worked in cooperative work-tesguino parties. Often, those who work together are kin or fictive kin (e.g., coparents) and the harvest will be shared later in the year if one family runs short. Other forms of trade include deals between individuals for the exchange of livestock, food, liquor, clothes, and land (and increasingly money). Norawa are formal trading partners or clients, usually among the most wealthy men or women of the community, and will preferentially trade or sell livestock to one another. Property is redistributed among community members through gambling on the outcome of footraces. Both men and women (and boys and girls) run, in separate events, and the two team's supporters, often geographically determined (e.g., "up-valley" vs. "down-valley"), stake large amounts of clothes, money, blankets, woven belts, cloth, soap, beads, and other personal belongings on the success of their team runners.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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