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Subsistence
This is an example from the !Kung (Africa), how economics work in matriarchal societies:

Most parents prefer to leave all but the youngest children in the village while they gather: food collection is more efficient that way, and distances traveled can be greater.

Also, most children want to stay at home with the other children: playing with friends is highly preferable to the stressful travel and long hours often involved in gathering. This is especially true in the hot, dry months of summer, when the sand burns the feet and water en route is available only in limited quantities carried in ostrich eggshell water containers. When children do accompany adults, they contribute almost nothing to the task at hand. Instead they spend their time eating-food given them and food they forage for themselves-and playing in the bush. Since women gather only about three days a week, there is usually someone either resting or working in the village who can supervise the children left behind.
One woman described it this way, "If you force a child to go gathering with you, she cries and makes it impossible to accomplish anything. If you leave her behind, she won't cry and you can come home with a lot."
In most societies around the world older children and young teenagers make substantial contributions to the economy, and their lack of such responsibility in !Kung life is striking. It reflects the stability and security of the !Kung subsistence base, and it seems to indicate that gathering and hunting, even in this marginal environment, is not a terribly arduous way of life: if the adult work load were too great, the !Kung would need only to tap the store of energy sitting idle in their young people. (In fact, teenagers often spend less time helping out than younger children do.)

Source:
Shostak, Marjorie: Nisa, The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman. New York, Vintage Books 1983.

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