Gender Roles in Organization and Leadership
Uploaded by cutee2 on Nov 03, 2011
The Sepik region of Papua, New Guinea, the community of Stinking Creek, Kentucky, and the general society in which we live are all culturally diverse societies, but they all share some variation of the male as traditional leader. In New Guinea, license for that position of leadership arises from their believe in the male being the first to emerge from the primordial aqueous environment. Stinking Creek is located in an isolated region of the southern Appalachians and operates under traditional values that are prevented from changing at all because of local economic conditions, but both the Sepik populations and that of Stinking Creek are focused more on survival than on equitable division of labor and leadership opportunities. Survival is not the issue in our general society that it is in theirs, and so we are afforded more opportunity to examine why leadership tends to settle on the shoulders of the male.
That gender roles vary among societies is well established. All societies maintain variations of generalities that can apply to many, if not most, other societies, one of which is that males are traditional leaders. Though there are some cultures where this is not the standard organization, those cultures are rare. Here, the role of gender as it affects leadership, and to a lesser extent, social organization is examined in and compared among three societies: the Sepik region of Papua, New Guinea; the community of Stinking Creek, Kentucky; and the general society in which we live.
Papua, New Guinea
In the Sepik region of Papua, New Guinea, there are various accounts of specific events of cultural history in which “historians” agree on the basic concepts of the stories, but in which details are often contested for the sake of preserving the roles ancestors played in those happenings. One story that is not contested, however, is of the creation of the society: “the original state of the world was aquatic (Swadling 1989). At an undeterminable moment, the water was stirred by wind, and land surfaced. There was a totemic pit (tsagi wangu) that is often envisioned as the center of the world; it is said to be located in the Sepik Plains, near the Sawos-speaking village of Gaikarobi. Male ancestors emerged from the pit, separated the sky from the earth with forked branches, and created the perceptible world through toponymy or naming”...