chapter  4
Female Hierarchy: An Evolutionary Perspective
ByVirginia Abernethy
Pages 12

This chapter summarizes research that links social network with sense of maternal competence and discusses its implications for female hierarchies. The validity of such conclusions is intuitively obvious when one considers that the tight network is modern society's closest approximation to conditions in a traditional social structure and probably to humanoid troop structure as well. In passing it may be noted that tight social networks are successful in operating such pools, probably because their children share values and expectations about appropriate behavior and controls. The elements of the favorable milieu are kinship and neighborhood association, both of which are identified within the tight social network constellation. Tight networks appear to facilitate physical sharing of childcare responsibilities. They also provide not only consensual validation of childrearing values and techniques but also positive feedback from significant others, which enhances the mother's self-image as a total person. The evolutionary success of man suggests that significant benefits accrue to this social adaptation for childrearing.