Women and institutions - Essay Example

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Women and institutions

Most of the societies practice division of labor by sex and age. Traditional western models depict men as economic providers, since their role was dynamic while women were domestic consumers and their role was static (Bosen, 319, 1984). Anthropologist and other social scientist have discovered that men are only partial economic providers. The contribution of men towards women and children vary in different cultures and depends in variations of women work. Women make significant economic decisions not only for children but also for men and the society (Wardlow, 153). Therefore, the important issue in analyzing economic system of any society is by considering the division of labor, and ways the fruits and labor are shared.
The early model of hunting society presented man as the chief provider and decision maker in the society. The early model of foragers as the blue print of sexual division of labor has been widely criticized (Merlan, 262, 1991). It was assumed that foragers depended on meat as their only food and men did all the hunting as women stayed in camps with children waiting for men to bring them food. Anthropologist challenged this model when they started analyzing the contribution of women in foragers’ society. After extensive research, there are four changes in the model. Meat was not the staple food in forages society compared to the total food intake (Stivens, 331, 1970). When meat was less important in the meal than plant food, men still went out to hunt while women provided food for their groups through their contributions. Even in the male hunting and women, gathering model contributes sexual separation in food contribution especially between animal and vegetable food. Division of labor between sexes is flexible and changing in individuals and cooperative efforts (Stivens, 330, 1970).
There are some difficulties in separating horticultural and agricultural societies. The major difference is the ...Show more


Even though some of their work was recognized, individual women were not allowed to make decisions in connection to production, investment, distribution and consumption. Women were viewed as controllers of household…
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