Divisions of labour to be?

Posted in: Comment

I've been reading the Embercombe Centre's website with the details of their two wildcraft programmes:  One for young men:

You could find yourself building a coracle and sailing on the lake; climbing trees; constructing shelters; whittling around the camp fire; strumming a guitar; skinning and gutting a wild animal; cooking outdoors; bivouacking overnight; hiking across Dartmoor; learning the art of stalking; sailing a boat; starting a fire without matches; making new friends; navigating with a map and compass; talking about issues important to you; creating your own tools; working with wood and clay; making and playing a drum; discovering new gifts and strengths within yourself; making a leather scabbard or eating raw honey. Each weekend is unique, shaping itself around the interests, needs, ages and impulses of the group. Many regular Embercombe facilitators, highly skilled in their own fields, give their time for free to these weekends to support the growth of a strong group and offer role models to the participants.

... and one for young women:

Weekends will all be unique, responding to the group that forms, but the sort of activities you may find yourself enjoying include harvesting organic fruit and veg from Embercombe's market garden to cook over the camp-fire; learning techniques to expand your awareness so that you become less of a threat to the wildlife around you; making new friends; taking night walks in the woods and under the stars; chopping fire wood; storytelling – discussing ancient wisdom from old tales and telling your own stories; fire-side conversations; games at dusk; swimming in the lake; felting; weaving; gathering a wild food feast; expeditions, laughter, challenges, reflections ....

These experiences seem unusually gendered for these emancipated, equal opportunity days, and I wonder why young women can't get to skin and gut a wild animal, or do any of these other things that the young men get to do (and vice versa, of course).

I wonder if these skill sets, and this division of labour, represent the Centre's views of what a sustainable future will need?  I have asked.

Posted in: Comment


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