Beyond the mother: Evolutionary perspectives on cooperative childrearing
Women frequently care for multiple highly dependent children, who require significant care. As a result, they receive extensive support from non-maternal caregivers, i.e., allomothers. Research on this support has typically made assumptions about who are important caregivers and what does, and does not, count as support. These assumptions often stem from western models of the ‘nuclear family’ and ‘expert-led childcare’ and can mean we overlook some important dimensions of social support. Dr Abigail Page will discuss these assumptions in her talk by exploring the evidence from two diverse populations, the Agta hunter-gatherers from the Philippines and UK mothers.
Dr Abigail Page, Research Fellow, LSHTM
Abigail Page has been trained as an anthropologist, first at the University of Durham for her BA in Social and Biological Anthropology and then her MSc in Medical Anthropology at University College London. She completed her PhD in Biological Anthropology in 2016, specialising in the cooperative childrearing, health and reproduction of a hunter-gatherer population in the Philippines called the Agta. Since her PhD, she has become increasingly interested in social support and its consequences for maternal and child health more broadly. To explore these topics further, she joined the LSHTM in 2018 to bring together evolutionary, public health and demographic research on social support and maternal and child outcomes.