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The Role of Women in Foraging and Horticultural Societies

  • Date Submitted: 10/28/2011 09:50 PM
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The role of women in foraging and horticultural based societies
The role of women in foraging and horticultural based societies is somewhat alike in that they are responsible for most of the food. They are different because one gathers or collects food and the other produces food. The women of San in southwest Africa are a part of a foraging civilization; they collect food. The women of foraging communities use what they call a “digging stick” to find tubers, roots use for food. They gathered nuts, melons, fruit, and berries, which are the most important part of the San diet; they almost contribute eighty percent (Nowak & Laird, 2010).

The Agta women of the Philippines rainforest are hunters. As written by Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gathers (2006), “Agta women regularly hunt, either in pairs or with men, using machetes or bows and arrows and hunting dogs” (para. 8). The women are more successful than the men are at hunting, even though the animals they hunt are small (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Women relinquish hunting altogether during late pregnancy and the earliest months after having children (Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gathers, 2006). For the Batex women of a Southeast Asian rainforest, hunting is not obligatory. The Batex use blowpipes as a hunting tool; the women are not strong enough to be successful at hunting with the tool.
The women of horticultural based societies did not take part in hunting; they help produce and harvest food. Iroquois women are more involved in planting, weeding and harvesting (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Women in horticultural used a “dibble stick” to dig up roots, plant tubers, and punch the earth, making small holes in the ground for seeds(Nowak & Laird, 2010, “Technology,” para.1). Women are likely the primary caregivers of infants and young children because the children come along with the women when they cultivate the fields.
How a women’s status is impacted by her participation in food...


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