Personality Differences by Gender

Generally speaking, the Glebo believe that all people have the capacity for purposeful work, and hard-working practical qualities are looked for in both men and women. Women are expected to be most concerned with the welfare of children and of households in general, while men are more free to debate theoretical issues and argue the fine points of politics or witchcraft. Men are expected to be more articulate than women and to be masters of elliptical and indirect oratory, often using proverbs to avoid saying what they really mean. Women are sometimes disparaged for simply blurting out what they are thinking, or seen as lacking in refinement and discretion. Yet good speaking ability is highly valued in women and is one of the criteria for election to the female council and the position of blo nyene. Women will often show public deference to men, but quarrels between spouses are known to become heated and even physical on both sides. Adult women are recognized as physically strong and able to stand up for themselves.

Men and women spend much of their time in gender-segregated groups, and demonstration of affection between same-sex friends is common and implies no sexual intimacy. The sight of two men or two women holding hands or walking arm-in-arm is much more likely than that of two people of the opposite sex, which would be considered slightly scandalous, even for spouses. Yet men demonstrate much public affection for their babies and young children, often holding them on their laps and cuddling them in the evening.

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