How would society be if it had been matrilineal and matriarchal? It would surely be progressive for women, as women would not be answerable just because they are ‘women’. Here are three communities across the world that show when women run the show, equality rules.
The Mosuo clan residing in the Chinese territory near the Tibetan border is a matriarchal and matrilineal society. Be it lineage or property, the inheritance passes from mother to daughter. Instead of institutionalized marriages they have ‘walking marriages’ where the woman literally walks into the man’s house to claim him. Children are reared by women as the males perform their duties towards their matriline. The roles of men and women too are well defined. Women are the decision makers and run businesses while men are more into politics. Rape is the rarest of rare incident in their life.
These inhabitants of the West Sumatra region of Indonesia is also known to be the largest matrilineal community. The mother holds the highest position in the family and the ancestry is determined from the mother’s bloodline. In terms of their respective roles in the social sphere, women take care of the domestic front while men are into leadership and spiritual offices. There is a sense of equality that predominates their culture as both men and women feel that their specific and significant roles maintain the balance. However, women have the last say when passing the verdict about a leader if he is found to have failed in performing his duties.
The Nagovisi from the island west of New Guinea is a society divided into matriclans. According to anthropologist Jill Nash, “Women, of course, dominate in food production”. It is also believed that a good marriage would mean both husband and wife work together in tending the wife’s garden or land and throw big feasts. The land or property is passed down from mother to daughter. Nash points out “If all we want to know is that women in some societies are not under the oppressive control of men, that they can own property and exercise their rights over it freely, and that they can enjoy their work, even when it is not an exciting career, I can do no more than offer the evidence of Nagovisi women”
More power to women!
Image credit: heliotricity.com