Most of their work effort, however, occurred in the public arena.
They participated in inter-village trade, organized ceremonial events, and dominated the political negotiations of exchange, marital, and military alliances between clans and villages.
During most of their adult lives, however, women's waking hours were spent in a constant sequence of productive tasks within the domestic sphere.
Over the years, women were loyal producers of wealth and progeny for their husbands' clans.
They also hunted sporadically and occasionally helped with child care.By the mid-1960s, Awa men had been recruited as wage labor migrants, and coffee was cultivated in most villages.As small amounts of cash were generated by these activities, Awa communities were integrated into local government councils and adult men became subject to an annual head tax.As an Awa man put it, "The mouth of a good woman is not fastened shut." More important, however, their sexual antagonism is the basic complementarity of the sexes.Women and men in Papua New Guinea, as in most societies, abide in rather separate, but interrelated, social domains defined by cultural notions of "maleness" and "femaleness" overtly expressed in such things as dress, physical comportment, social attitudes, responsibilities and sexual divisions of labor. As part of a small linguistic group of 1,400 people living in eight communities in a relatively remote rural area of the Eastern Highlands, from an early age their lives were closely tied to the continuous labors of subsistence agriculture on which the local livelihood depends.Perhaps most importantly, they sought to protect village autonomy from external threats.