India’s Division of Labor
Camera info: Fuji Finepix A303 • Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 2.8 • 1/400
Is there still division of labor by gender in your country? Well, there sure is in tribal areas of India, and these workers are good at what they do!
The women in this week’s picture are weaving cotten blankets to sell in the market. The white, black, and red threads are embroidered to make intricate patterns, sometimes taking months to complete. They sell for what we tourists would consider a small amount (one even offered hers for $40 US), but it’s enough to sustain their families. Women in the area we visited always made the same cotton blankets in the black, white, and red pattern, but other tribes in the state specialize in other products. Silk sarees with gold edges and the famous “Madras Checks” pattern are also from Tamil Nadu tribes.
In the meantime, the men kept busy farming, raising sheep and other livestock, and carrying out religious roles such as priests or pastors. They were known mostly for their strength. In fact, one of the local men told our group that in order for a boy to be considered a man (and thus be allowed to marry), he had to lift a large rock and throw it over his head. The rock was selected by the girl’s father, of course, and its size would depend on how much he liked the guy. 😉 Many of the men in our group tried to throw a “medium” size rock the Indian man had pointed out, but few were able to even lift it! I guess they wouldn’t do so well living in Indian tribal country. 😀
Have you seen much division of labor where you live? What roles do men or women play exclusively?