6 Matriarchal Societies That Have Been Thriving with Women at the Helm for Centuries
Date: February 3, 2023
6 Matriarchal Societies That Have Been Thriving With Women at the Helm for Centuries
In these communities around the globe, women oversee everything from politics, economics, and the broader social structure.
BY SARAH MADAUS
If you look far enough back into history, you’ll find that women were revered and honored for their ability to bear children. Even if you just crack open a Greek epic, the pages are teeming with goddesses and female warriors, elevated to a position of worship and respect.
But over the course of history, societies across the globe started to bend towards a more patriarchal structure, which is pervasive in most communities in modern times. However, there are still surviving matriarchal societies to be found where women, literally, are the dominant steering factor in all matters, social, political, and economical. Read on how these six individual communities across the globe and how they have diverged from the western-patriarchal architecture that is pervasive throughout most of the world.
The Mosuo women are China’s last surviving matriarchy. There are about 40,000 of them, according to The Independent, and they practice Tibetan Buddhism. Lineage is traced through the women of the family. This society is also matrilineal, meaning property is handed down the same female line. Mosuo women also don’t marry. Should they choose to have a partner, the two don’t live together and the mother plays the primary role in raising the children.
Bribri, Costa Rica
The BriBri people are an indigenous tribe with an estimated 12,000-35,000 members. In this society, land is handed down from the mother to her children. Women are revered and thus are the only people who can prepare the sacred cacao drink for their religious rituals.
The Umoja tribe is a true-blue No Mans Land, because men are banned. This village is a home to women who have experienced sexual or gender-based violence. The Umoja village, which means “unity” in Swahili, was founded in 1990. As occupations, the women and children show tourists their village and work to educate others about their rights.
The Minangkabau people are a part of the largest surviving matriarchal society encompassing approximately four million people as of 2017. The common belief in this culture is that the mother is the most important person in society. Women rule the domestic realm of life. And while marriage is feasible in the Minangkabau society, partners must have separate sleeping quarters.
According to Mental Floss, the social organization of the Akan people is built around the matriclan. Within the matriclan, identity, inheritance, wealth, and politics are all decided. As the name would have it, matriclan founders are female. However, it must be noted that with in the Akan Matriclan, men do hold leadership positions.
As of 2011, this matriarchal society was comprised of about 1 million. Mothers and mothers-in-law are the only people allowed to look after children and, according to The Guardian, men aren’t even entitled to attend family gatherings. What’s more, when women marry in the Khasi tribe, their surname is passed down instead that of their husbands.
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