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FCS presents poster at the Male Psychology Conference!

In June, we presented our poster entitled:  How do hunter-gatherer children learn gender norms? A meta-ethnographic review at the Male Psychology Conference at UCL. Check out our poster here!


Purpose: The present poster aims to understand how hunter-gatherer children develop gendered norms of behaviour despite little intervention from adults. We use the meta-ethnographic review process to answer this question.Background: Various authors have noted that hunter-gatherer children are rarely assigned gendered chores. Furthermore, boys and girls exist in the same social spaces, are in close proximity to both men and women, and play in mixed-sex peer groups. Despite these same learning environments, hunter-gatherer children grow up to participate in the gendered division of labour common in their respective societies. When do children begin to exhibit gendered behaviours? Who do they learn these gendered behaviours from? Are there cross-cultural trends on learning gendered behaviours?

Method: We perform a meta-ethnography, which allows us to compare quantitative and qualitative publications on the topic of learning gendered behaviours during hunter-gatherer childhoods.

Conclusion: 23 relevant publications on the topic of learning gendered behaviours were extracted. Our findings suggest that, cross-culturally, hunter-gatherer children exhibit little gender differentiation in behaviour until middle childhood. Once within middle childhood, however, children transition from the mixed-sex playgroup to more gendered groups gradually, and without coercion from other children or adults. At the end of middle childhood, girls were more involved in children caretaking, cooking, and fishing than boys, while boys were more involved in hunting than girls, reflecting the adult division of labour in this society. As children grow into adolescence, observation, imitation, and negative feedback are all used for the purposes of gender socialization.


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