Ceres Magazine Issue 4 - Fall 2016 - Page 6

Mural by artist Charles R. Knight depicting a Neanderthal family. PD

6 | Ceres Magazine | Fall 2016

Physiologically women and men are different. This simple fact affects our behaviors as our hormones tell our body how to act, how to feel and how to think. Next to our genetic makeup differences, men and women have the same needs, and do the same everyday basic tasks. In our modern western society, we eat the same foods, work the same jobs, and care for our families in the same manner. We cry, laugh, and worry alike! And so, we live, love and die to complete the great cycle of life. But, if there is not one job that a woman can’t do, then why are we still discriminating? Why is the gender gap still so persistent today? Maybe the answer just lies in the roles that society, economy, religions, traditions and maybe the fear of evolution… wants us to conform to, because, after all, it is easier to control people who are conformists than rebels.

It is our human nature to categorize and label our surrounding. We sort the apples from the oranges, and we sort the men from the women. That is what we have been taught to do. It is a societal behavior.

Since the dawn of humanity, we have developed gender specific tasks. The women bear the children and nurture them. The men go hunt and provide the food. But was it the way the first men and women really lived? The almighty prehistoric male confining his woman to a cave while he hunts may just be a lore. Modern scholars have found evidence based on anthropological studies of nearly two hundred hunter/gatherer cultures in Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas that, while hunting is almost exclusively done by males, it is inefficient as a food source as only twenty percent of nourishment comes from meat [Web.Clark.edu]. These conclusions can be reverted to prehistoric cultures, and therefore, women in these ancient times must have supplemented with alternate means such as gathering.

Aka Pygmy people of central Africa, with a total population around 20,000, and who call themselves the people of the forest, are another example where male and female roles are virtually interchangeable. Women are the primary caregivers. They hunt and make important decisions. The men mind the children and cook. And vice versa. This level

Women's Role in Society: Then and Now