Cultural Perceptions and the Productive Roles of Rural PakistaniWomen

Publication Year : 1992

In most societies, women have been defined largely in terms oftheir maternal and caretaking roles and hence been stereotyped as”domestics”. Epstein (1986); Ortner (1974); Reiter (1975); Rosaldo andLamphere (1974); Rogers (1979) and Nelson (1974) argue that the rolesthat females take have been viewed as relatively oflesser significancein larger cultural pictures. Male as opposed to female activities havealways been recognised as being more important and cultural systems havegiven authority to the roles of men and have portrayed them as being ofgreater value. Anthropology, in the past, has also followed in the sameevaluations and greater attention has been given to the documentation ofmale activities which constitute the “public” life of the culture andare therefore more visible to the researchers. As a result the”private/domestic” spheres where women are involved have beendowngraded. All this has led to impoverished ethnographic accounts, andto a number of misconceptions regarding female values, contributions andactivities. Rogers (1979) states:

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