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Gender Roles in Pastoral Societies

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Kate Usher

on 1 November 2013

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Transcript of Gender Roles in Pastoral Societies


Gender Roles in Pastoral Societies

By: Kate Usher
Male Roles in a Pastoral Society
Common to many ancient societies, men held the role of power (communities were male-dominated)
Responsible for herding livestock
In some tribes, men had to undergo a "right of passage" ceremony in which he would have to single-handily kill an animal
More cattle= more wealth = more power= dominance over competing tribes
When trade developed, men were responsible for selling cattle
Some men embraced titles of religious powers
Female Roles in a Pastoral Society
Women were responsible for: food production, child rearing, crafts such as jewelery making, producing material belongings, cultivating crops, and sometimes herding smaller animals such as goats and sheep
Most important role was to milk cattle, as it become as source of income through trade
Pastoral societies had access to more leisure time than there hunter-gatherer counterparts, and as a result their material belongings were not more, but increasingly complex
Typically not included in decision-making processes
Developed an innate resourcefulness to maintain their households in times of scarcity

Roles of Children in a Pastoral Society
From a young age, children learned the role of their parent of the same gender
Young girls helped their mother with household maintenance
If a men held a position of power, particularly cheifsmanship, his son would inherit it
What is a Pastoral Society?
"Nomadic" herding societies
Emerged between 10 and 12,000 years ago when hunter-gatherer societies began to domesticate animals as a reliable source of food as hunting and gathering became increasingly difficult
Characterized by communities adjusting their lifestyle to fit the needs of the domesticated animals they raise for food and other resources
Represent one of the first times people adapted to environmental conditions
Evident in environmental conditions unsuitable for cultivating crops (too little rainfall, short growing season, etc.)
Ex: Africa, Middle East
Do Pastoral Societies Still Exist Today?
Resource Allocation
Food production flourished as a result of the pastoral accumulation strategy
People became healthier and stronger
Therefore: there were larger populations and more demand for food
Demands were dutifully met: surplus sometimes ensued
As a result, communities developed systems of power allocation
Elwell, Frank, Dr. "Pastoral Societies." Pastoral Societies. RSU, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2013. <http://www.faculty.rsu.edu/users/f/felwell/www/Ecology/PDFs/Pastoralism.pdf>
Agriculture and Consumer Protection. "Social and Cultural Institutions of Pastoralism." Pastoralism in the New Millennium. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2013. <http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y2647e/y2647e08.htm>.
IFAD. "Livestock Thematic Papers." Livestock Thematic Papers- Tools for Project Design. IFAD, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2013. <http://www.ifad.org/lrkm/factsheet/women_pastoralism.pdf>.
The Kurdish tribe of Northern Iraq herding their donkeys and cattle
A man herding cattle on Mui Ne Beach, Vietnam- a modern example of male roles
Zhou, Anne. Hearding Cattle in Vietnam. August 10, 2012. Asia Society. October 28, 2013.
A female pastoralist milking a cow, which was a common task for females in pastoral times
Davies, Jonathan. Female Pastoralist. IUCN, October 28, 2013.
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