Gender Related Social Groups

Ideal gender types and realities often do not coincide, and in the case of the Kyrgyz many of the Soviet and postSoviet social institutions were structured around men.

Although many women made significant advancements in politics, economics and medicine, the reality is that women do not have as many opportunities, nor do they receive equal pay.

Much of Kyrgyz society is geared toward the male, including marriage residence, which is exogamous, or living near or with the husband's family. Kin groups are formed through patrilineal lineage system or bir atanyng baldary—seven generations of Kyrgyz patrilineal family. Prior to Soviet collectivization, the economic demands of pastoral nomadism required alliances among the Kyrgyz patrilineal kinship groups (ayils) in order to maintain grazing pastures and water rights for their horses, sheep, and cattle. One way of solidifying economic relationships with neighboring tribes was through arranged exogamous marriages. Agreements between two groups to exchange their daughters (kuda sook) formed the foundation of economic relations that often lasted for several generations, since wives had to be taken from the same sook (bones) as their mothers. Members of these two groups were expected to assist one another. They shared grazing lands and protected each other's animals from raids made by neighboring tribes. Often marriages were arranged between tribal groups prior to the birth of children (bel kuda). Betrothal of small children who were still in their cradles was called beshik kuda. Agreements between the kuda sook were honored even in the event of a death, when the customary law of levirate required a brother or a relative to marry the widow.

In Kyrgyz society, social structures tend to be separated by gender. Whether it is a social club, a business association, or a wedding party, men and women tend to seek their own sex for social affiliation.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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