Although subsistence hunting is cross-culturally an activity led and practiced mostly by men, a rich body of literature shows that in many small-scale societies women also engage in hunting in varied and often inconspicuous ways. Using data collected among two contemporary forager-horticulturalist societies facing rapid change (the Tsimane’ of Bolivia and the Baka of Cameroon), we compare the technological and social characteristics of hunting trips led by women and men and analyze the specific socioeconomic characteristics that facilitate or constrain women’s engagement in hunting. Results from interviews on daily activities with 121 Tsimane’ (63 women and 58 men) and 159 Baka (83 women and 76 men) show that Tsimane’ and Baka women participate in subsistence hunting, albeit using different techniques and in different social contexts than men. We also found differences in the individual and household socioeconomic profiles of Tsimane’ and Baka women who hunt and those who do not hunt. Moreover, the characteristics that differentiate hunter and non-hunter women vary from one society to the other, suggesting that gender roles in relation to hunting are fluid and likely to change, not only across societies, but also as societies change.
- Baka (Cameroon)
- Small-scale societies
- Social-ecological transformations
- Tsimane’ (Bolivia)