Gender-Typed and Gender-Segregated Play Among Tanzanian Hadza and Congolese BaYaka Hunter-Gatherer Children and Adolescents
Few data exist on gender-typed and gender-segregated play in hunter-gatherer societies, despite their unique demographic and cultural features which may influence children?s gendered play. Using naturalistic observations of Hadza (N = 46, 41% female) and BaYaka (N = 65, 48% female) hunter-gatherer 3- to 18-year-olds from Tanzania and the Republic of Congo, we showed that access to playmates was negatively associated with playing in mixed-gender groups. Young boys did not engage in more rough-and-tumble play than girls, but adolescent boys participated in this type of play more than adolescent girls. Children were also more likely to participate in work-themed play which conformed to gender norms within their society. Findings are discussed within the context of gendered division of labor, child autonomy, and demography.