Sociology Index


Matriarchy is a society or family in which women possess most of the power and authority. Matriarchy is the opposite of a patriarchal system where men take primary responsibility for the welfare of the family and community. The term 'matriarchy' must be distinguished from matrilineal societies which refers to the system of tracing descent through the blood lines of women and which exists in a number of world societies. The male equivalent of matriarchy is Patriarchy. The term matriarchy and structural definition of matriarchal societies is important to understand their deep structure. Patriarchy negates matriarchy by trying to replace matriarchal society by patriarchal order. To do so it has to totally abstract from matriarchal.

Matriarchy In India

Khasis in the North-East Indian state of Meghalaya and the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Garos pass property and political succession from mother to daughter typically, and the youngest daughter inherits her mother's property.

Has Matriarchy Influenced Succession Laws in India? - Anutosh Pandey. National Law University, Orissa (NLUO) at Cuttack.
Abstract: In India, matriarchy is found in certain part of Assam and certain parts of Kerala. The social structure of these communities have various elements which are different from other communities of India.

Matriarchy Examples

Khasi, India
In 2011, Khasi matriarchal society was comprised of about 1 million. Mothers and mothers-in-law are the only people allowed to look after children. According to The Guardian, men aren't even entitled to attend family gatherings. When women marry in the Khasi tribe, their surname is passed down instead that of their husbands.

Mosuo, China
The Mosuo women are China's last surviving matriarchy. Mosuo women also don't marry. If Mosuo women choose to have a partner, the two don't live together and the mother plays the primary role in raising the children. 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.

Bribri, Costa Rica
The BriBri people are an indigenous tribe with an estimated 12,000-35,000 members. In BriBri 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.

Umoja, Kenya
Kenyan Umoja Women Village
The Umoja tribe is a true-blue No Mans Land, because men are banned. Kenyan Umoja Women 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.

Minangkabau, Indonesia
The Minangkabau people are a part of the largest surviving matriarchal society encompassing approximately four million people as of 2017. The common belief in the Minangkabau culture is that the mother is the most important person in society. Women rule the domestic realm of life. Marriage is feasible in the Minangkabau society, but partners must have separate sleeping quarters.

Akan, Ghana
According to Mental Floss, the social organization of the Akan people is built around the matriclan. In the Akan Matriclan, men do hold leadership positions. Within the matriclan, identity, inheritance, wealth, and politics are all decided. As the name would have it, matriclan founders are female.

Matriarchy Abstracts

The Myth of Matriarchy: Why Men Rule in Primitive Society
Bamberger, Joan. (1974). in Women, Culture, and Society, edited by Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Theorizing Matriarchy in Africa: Kinship Ideologies and Systems in Africa and Europe - Ifi Amadiume. Abstract: My major problematic in this chapter is the theorization of the vexing concept of matriarchy, not as a totalitarian system, that is, the total rule governing a society, but as a structural system in juxtaposition with another system in a social structure. Using contemporary data, I intend to throw into doubt certain established Eurocentric certainties about the origins and social character of kinship.

Re-thinking Matriarchy in Modern Matriarchal Studies using two examples: The Khasi and the Mosuo. Heide Goettner-Abendroth, International Academy HAGIA - Asian Journal of Women's Studies - Volume 24, 2018. Abstract: The new field of modern Matriarchal Studies calls non-patriarchal societies matriarchal. Traditional research on matriarchy is laden with unclear definitions and excessive emotionality. Lacking a clear scientific definition of matriarchy, the term has been misunderstood as rule by women, provoking a lasting, ideologically distorted prejudice against it.

A Matriarchal Society in the age of Globalization - It is the character of the ideal type to assemble generalised, abstract and ideal elements of a matriarchy, but no such society exists in reality.

All Power to the Women: Nazi Concepts of Matriarchy
Jost Hermand, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 19, No. 4, Reassessments of Fascism (Oct., 1984).

From Patriarchy to Matriarchy: Ma Joad's Role in The Grapes of Wrath.
Warren Motley, American Literature, Vol. 54, No. 3 (Oct., 1982).