Why There Are So Few Women Warriors
4. The Exclusion of Women from War Page 4


Title/Summary page

1. Introduction Page 1

2. Cross-Cultural Methodology
Page 2

3. Societies with Women Warriors
Page 3

4. The Exclusion of Women from War
Page 4

5.Type of Warfare Determines Marital Residency
Pages 5-6

6. The Prehistory of Warfare
Pages 7-8

7. Interaction of Biology and Culture
Page 9

8. Conclusion
Page 10

Tables
Pages 11-12-13-14-15-16

Footnote and References
Page 17

Copyright Agreement
Page 18


In the various cultures in which women are excluded from participation in active fighting, the male monopoly on warfare generally extends far beyond the battle field. Women are generally excluded from all meetings and councils and discussions of warfare and they are usually forbidden to make, own or use the weapons of warfare such as spears or bows-and-arrows. Furthermore, in most cases they are also forbidden to use such weapons in hunting or fishing as well. In one culture the middle fingers on the right hand which would be necessary in order to pull a bow string are systematically cut off in young girls (Heider, 1970, p. 238). In this way the question of split loyalty may be avoided. Since women know nothing of war, there is no question about which side they might take. The question of split loyalties during warfare is not an abstract issue, but a practical matter of security for the warriors and the entire community. In most warfare, the most critical and deadly phase consists of surprise raids, often carried out before daybreak under the conditions of absolute secrecy. If even one woman were to know and betray the plans, making possible an ambush, the result would most likely be disastrous.

Even in those cultures in which there is no question of split loyalties, the proportion of women warriors is very small, much less than might be expected by chance. How can this be explained? To attempt an answer, we must go beyond a simple analysis of the contradiction between marriage and warfare and develop a general picture of the prehistory of war based upon a further analysis of its relationships with marriage systems.

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