The relative decline in women’s contributions to agriculture with intensification

American Anthropologist Vol/Iss. 85 Published In Pages: 285-304
By Ember, Carol R.


Intensive agriculture will be associated with shorter postpartum sex taboos (1 year or less) (294)


Intensive agriculture relationship with contraceptive use and abortion were tested and found to be not significant (294)


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Fisher’s exact testSupportedp=.043phi=0.43One-tailed


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Intensive AgricultureIndependentTillage
Postpartum Sex Taboo Of 1 Year Or LessDependentPostnatal Care

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Kitahara, Michio"There is a significant correlation between living quarter arrangements for co-wives in polygynous societies and the frequency of circumcision of males at puberty when the factor of the length of the postpartum sexual taboo is controlled" (10).
Mace, RuthSex ratio at birth will be negatively correlated with the mortality rate of those under 1 year of age.
Saucier, Jean-Francois"A long postpartum taboo will be more frequent . . . in societies subsisting mainly on extensive agriculture and horticulture . . . in contrast to societies subsisting mainly on gathering, hunting, fishing, animal husbandry . . . intensive or modern agriculture" (243)
Low, Bobbi S.Lack of agriculture will be negatively associated with female inheritance of property, while intensive agriculture will be positively associated with female inheritance (6)
Stewart, Robert A. C.Findings: A factor analysis of key dimensions to describe a given culture yielded 12 factors. Factor 11, "postpartum sex taboo", loaded highly and positively on postpartum sex taboo lasts more than one year; grandparents and granchild are friendly equals; male initiation ceremonies at puberty; fear of human beings; observation of food taboos. Factor 11 loaded negatively on cousin marriage preferred or prescribed (63)