Debunk the myth of “hunter men and gatherer women”

Debunk the myth of “hunter men and gatherer women”

The story that men are hunters and women are gatherers is no more. A new study confirmed, once again, that this is a gender-based bias. A team of anthropologists from Seattle Pacific and Washington Universities surveyed dozens of communities around the world. The result: women hunt in at least 79% of them.

The research focused on hunter-gatherer societies that are current or existed until relatively recently. For example, the Apaches, the Iroquois, and other Native Americans. In all, the study published in Plos One reflects the practices of 63 societies from North and South America, Africa, Australia, Asia and the oceanic region. In Europe there have been no groups of hunter-gatherers for a long time.

The group led by Abigail Anderson of Seattle Pacific University did an additional cut to differentiate between intentional and unplanned hunting. They wanted to rule out those cases in which a woman killed an animal while she did other work.

They then discovered that women hunt or intentionally hunted in 85% of these societies. Among them are Agta women from the province of Luzon in the Philippines and from the Matsé community in the Peruvian Amazon.

Rock painting of men and women from hunter-gatherer communities.

Other denials about the myth “hunter men and gatherer women”

The research by the group led by Abigail Anderson also showed that women actively participate in teaching hunting practices. Not only that, but the report explains that women tend to employ a greater variety of weapons and hunting strategies than men.

The myth of “men hunters and women gatherers” is not just anecdotal. The authors of the study explain that these stereotypes have conditioned previous archaeological studies. To such an extent that some researchers have refused to recognize objects buried next to women as hunting tools.

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Another great finding that disarms this myth was published in 2020, in the journal Science Advances. An archaeological discovery in the Peruvian Andes has shown that women were also hunters in prehistoric societies.

The remains of a young woman who lived in the region 9,000 years ago were found along with other implements. It turns out that these items were an assorted set of tools for hunting large animals. After other comparative analyses, a team from the University of California concluded that among 30 to 50% of the hunters in America during that period could have been women.


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