Summary on the subject: Gender Issues and Hopewell Culture

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Summary on the subject: Gender Issues and Hopewell Culture

Gender Issues and Hopewell Culture


In general, when considering third world countries, most would say that they have some very similar characteristics. Third world countries are often thought of as places that are impoverished, have significantly high birthrates, are economically dependent on advanced countries, and have not evolved socially in regards to equal rights issues. Although many of these characteristics do apply to Sri Lanka, the latter has definitely evoked some discussion on the topic of gender issues in underdeveloped countries. Issues such as decision making in the household, educated women and their role in society, and attitudes towards women in employment will be discussed. As stated earlier, most would agree that from a distant perspective Sri Lanka would seem to be socially underdeveloped in regards to equal rights. One way that this misconception is debunked is by looking at the roles of male and female in the household. There are many variables to take into consideration when looking at roles of family members and who has the balance of power; for instance, if the wife is working or not could be considered at both ends of the scale. If she is working than her husband may feel that because she is making a financial contribution she has more of a right to make important economic decisions that may effect the family. On the other hand he may feel as though her being away from the children is a detriment to their upbringing, and in turn is placing a burden upon the family leaving the wife with few domestic decisions. Another variable that has to be considered is if the residence is with the husbands family or if it is with the wifes family. In this case one would assume that whichever house was being resided in would have the balance of the say towards family decisions. The last variable that will be considered is that of marital duration. Does a longer marriage necessarily mean that the financial and domestic decisions of the household will become split evenly between the husband and wife? The answers to these questions were the focus of a study conducted by Anju Malhotra and Mark Mather in 1992. The study showed that when the wives were working, regardless of whether or not they shared their wages or kept them, they had an increase say on financial matters. However, the domestic decisions were not nearly as great, especially if the wages earned by the wife were kept for herself (Malhotra et al. 1997: 620). When looking at the balance of power in regards to household arrangement, the study found that the wife had almost no say on financial matters when living at the husbands parents house but did have some say on domestic issues. The opposite it true for when the family resided at the wifes parents house. The wife typically had a significant say on financial and domestic matters with the latter outweighing the two (Malhotra et al. 1997: 620). As far as marital duration is concerned, it seems as though as the family grows together there is somewhat of a role reversal. The husband becomes more concerned with domestic matters and the wife takes some responsibility for the financial decisions (Malhotra et al. 1997: 620). These findings led my research group to believe that the people of Sri Lanka are generally very similar to those of western societies in regards to household decisions. Education is not something we think about when speaking about developing countries, many assume that it is just not an option for underprivileged people. Although that is the unfortunate truth that effects many third world countries, it does seem that Sri Lanka is on its way to recovering itself. For many years the gender gap between male and female scholars needed to be decreased. In the early 1980s the percentage of the total amount of people with university degrees that were women was barely above 40%. A more alarming fact might be that the percentage with post-graduate degrees was barely above 25% (Ahooja-Patel K. 1979: 217). The majority of women pursuing a degree usually did so in the fine arts category or the education and teacher training fields, many staying away from disciplines such as business or engineering. Although these numbers may seem staggering Sri Lanka has shown some promise in terms of social welfare. Programs are now in place to encourage female education and to decrease the inequalities women face today. In the early 1990s the gender gap between literate males and females was only a 5% difference (Malhotra et al. 1997: 602). Many believe that the more westernized Sri Lanka becomes the more independent the thoughts and wills of women will expand, creating a country of little inequality. Women in the work force today in western society face many barriers; this is after years of trying to refine the social economic status of women. In Sri Lanka, because of its poor economy, employers may have actual complaints that may affect the profitability of their business. In general in Sri Lanka, men are usually preferred over women as employees. Some employers complain that because of the possibility of the need for time off to bear children that it may disrupt the flow of the work force. Many men could feel as though women were being treated with undeserved favoritism, which could cause conflict. Others feel that the financial burden of having to install proper facilities to accommodate women could create too much of a loss that they would not be able to overcome it. The topic of most discussions seems to revolve around the Maternity Amendment Act of 1978, which states that women workers are entitled to six weeks maternity leave with pay. It also states that they are allowed two nursing breaks of one hour each or two breaks of one half hour each when a day care center is available (Ahooja-Patel K. 1979: 219). Women cannot, under the law, be fired for any reason that stems from them being pregnant. An unfortunate fact that is slowly being eradicated is that many women are just not qualified for the jobs that are available in Sri Lanka. Because of the gender gap in education and training that has plagued Sri Lanka for years this trend will surely continue until the inequality has subsided. In many ways Sri Lanka has come very far in terms of gender equality when discussing kinship and education. However, womens economic situation has shown to be less favourable. The people of Sri Lanka acknowledge that women have a place in the work force but financially cannot accommodate them. Until the economic growth of Sri Lanka can develop further, people will continue to have the survival of the fittest kind of attitude, which will continue to alienate and repress the women or Sri Lanka.

Studied since the discovery of the conspicuous mounds in Ross County Ohio, the Hopewell have been an archaeological enigma to many. The tradition is so named for the owner of the farm, Captain Hopewell, where over thirty mounds were discovered. Earlier studies focused more on the exotic grave goods such as precious metals, freshwater pearls, many of these objects had come from all corners of the continent from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, and north to the mid-Atlantic coastline (some say Hopewellian influence reached Nova Scotia). Earlier scholars of the Hopewell (1950s through 1960s) were well aware of the influence of the “Interaction Sphere”, yet concluded that the Hopewell, in terms of lifestyle were a cult and had no influence on daily life. Later studies suggest otherwise, as more and more information surfaces along with new insightful interpretations. It is widely accepted that the Hopewell are the “next generation” of the Adena. That is to say that the Adena gave rise to the Hopewell, who had, as speculated migrated into the Ohio River Valley from Illinois. The Hopewell have been described as a more elaborate and flamboyant version of the Adena. Whether the Hopewell overpowered the Adena or simply mingled with and mixed into the culture, is not certain, yet there has been no evidence of warfare to support the former. The result was a cultural explosion encompassing a vast majority of North America east of the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic coast. The Hopewell flourished in the Middle Woodland from 200 B. C. to AD 500. The environment was nearly what it is today. Temperate with lakes, streams, wetlands and flood-plains, the people took advantage of the seasonal weather in the Ohio River Valley via foraging as well as hunting and gathering. The cultivation of domestic strains of beans and maize was well on its way as it was implemented in small amounts, catching on later in the time period. The vegetation was a prairie/forest mix of deciduous trees, walnut, oak, various grasses and shrub. The fauna of the region included many species of waterfowl, turkey and other species in great abundance that are found today (perhaps in more abundance than found today). Larger fauna included buffalo, bison, deer, and elk and smaller animals such as rodents, raccoons, beaver and the like. Aquatic life included freshwater mussels and clams, many fishes (bass, catfish, etc) and turtles. As we will see, the people made abundant use of these flora and fauna as food, clothing, container, ceremonial and ornamental objects. As for changes through time in the environment, it is theorized (by some) that it did in fact shift to a wetter one, perhaps driving the people to higher ground or otherwise drier climates. Core settlement, as noted was along the Ohio River and its estuaries on flood-plains, as well as on or near wetlands. Major areas of population density include Newark and Chillic