Male Involvement in Childcare in Hunter–gatherer Societies: An Empirical Study in Semaq Beri, Malaysia

Shingo Odani


This study investigates gender roles in childcare among Semaq Beri people who have been classified into hunter-gatherer living in the state of Pahang in Peninsular Malaysia. The perpose of this study is to verify recent anthropological studies suggesting that males in hunter-gatherer societies are more involved in childcare than males in other societies. The results show a significant difference in proximity maintenance for the child: mothers spent more time with their children than fathers did. On the other hand, there were no significant differences in holding and carrying behavior between the father and mother. The main finding of this study is that the amount of time fathers spent holding and carrying children was considerably high. Studies conducted from an evolutionary point of view found that this result is common in hunter-gatherer societies. However, earlier studies suggested that male involvement in childcare could also be observed during other activities. The results of this study did not show such generality. Aditionally, the results of this study show that people other than parents tended to not participle in childcare.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)

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