Much of the world is accustomed to patriarchal structures taking precedence in society. Men are the more dominantly upholded gender, and in many instances, and treated as such in regards to pay scales, upward mobility and career opportunities. This leaves women at a disadvantage in many ways within these types of communities. But believe it or not, there are some societies that are run by women. These societal frameworks are designed to uphold women as the leaders in government, communal practices and/or within the household. Matriarchies still around today prove that women are just as competent in areas of expertise that many believe should be reserved for men. To learn more about the amazing matriarchies that exist around the world, check out these 10 societies run by women.
Minangkabau in Australia
Minangkabau is one of the biggest matriarchies in the whole world, with over four million people belonging to this particular community. Everything in this society is centered around women. The family name is passed along through women, as well as ownership of properties. Men move into the home’s of women upon marriage; and men are allowed to hold government office and religious leadership positions, at the behest of women.
Bribri in South America
Bribri is an indigineous group off the coast of South America that is totally self-sufficient. They make their own food and medicine, and source their own materials to build and maintain their buildings and structures. Each person belongs to a clan that is decided by the clan’s mother. Women also inherit land, so they control all the resources of the communities.
Khasi of India
The Khasi people are one of the last matriarchies in India. In this community, men stay at home and raise children, while women sell goods and produce at markets. Children also inherit the last name of the woman, and the eldest daughter of the family always receives the biggest inheritance and properties.
Mosuo of China
In Southern China, the Mosuo people uphold the woman as the final say in households and even document family lineage through the woman. One of the most interesting concepts this community practices is walking marriage. A married couple do not live together, and spend time when they choose, while the woman can see other men when she pleases.
Nagovisi of island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea
This community also focuses heavily on cultivating their own food and resources; and women have domain of this by default as they lead farming on their individual ancestral land. They do not practice marriage commonly, but men will be expected to help tend to a woman’s land if they are frequently spending time together.
Akan of Guinea
The women of the Akan people choose who will hold positions within finance and politics. Akan men are not heavily involved in the lives of their own children, but are raised to be active in the lives of their sister’s children.
Umoja Usao of Kenya
This society was founded in 1990 as a refuge for women who had been abused. The Umoja Usao allow no men, and are a female only village. Many of the villagers escaped violence and mistreatment from misogynistic husbands. The only men who are allowed to temporarily visit are those who group up in the village.
Garo of Meghalaya in India
The Garo people are one of the largest tribes in Meghalaya, and pass down property from generations through women. The youngest daughter is usually the one who inherits her mother’s property. While women are at the forefront of society, men still hold political power and govern the land that their wives own.
Nubia of Africa
Nubians are an ancient society that stretched the expanse of Egypt, what was previously known as Nubia. This society was dominated by amazing women and was matrilineal, meaning, like other communities mentioned, the lineage was traced through the women.
Hopi of Native Americans of Arizona
The Hopi clan is also a matrilineal society, and pass family names through women. Paternal sides of families get to name newborns, but only the paternal women have this particular honor.