Gender parallelism, as defined by Karen Vieira Powers, is “women and men operat[ing] in two separate but equivalent spheres, each gender enjoying autonomy in its own sphere.” From 1150-1400, Inca women and men each had their own gender-based hierarchies for religion and political organizations. Labor was also gender separated; as neither men nor women were seen as being an appointed with tasks of higher worth or auxiliary tasks. Another facet of parallelism was that of gendered inheritance. Female and male children inherited their parents’ money, property, and title through the respective gendered parent – mother to daughter and father to son. Overall, the Incas viewed gender parallelism as an opportunity to create balance and harmony within society. It was initially not intended to create blatant dominant and subordinate groups. Nevertheless, it is essential to recognize that these separate spheres convened at the apex of joined political systems, which was the male Inca ruler – the “paramount ruler” . The political convergence plays a crucial role in the later evolution of gender parallelism.
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...nder parallelism as previously understood by the Inca Empire.
Inca women autonomy was destroyed by empirical conquest. There was an inherent loss of feminine spirituality with every re-mapping of the empire’s boundaries. They lost their powerful female deities and were repaid with gendered predetermination. Men allowed conquest to detach them from the Inca belief system of balance and equality that pre-dated any need for expansion. Conquest hierarchy was enforced and unquestioned. An all though the Inca political people gained power, they lost social harmony.
Irene Silverblatt, Moon, Sun, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and
Colonial Peru., (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1987).
Karen Vieira Powers, Women in the Crucible of Conquest: The Gendered Genesis of
Spanish American Society, 1500-1600, (Albuquerqu: University of New Mexico, 2005).
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