What are some matriarchal societies in Africa

The last matriarchy - where women are in charge

Mosuo, China

The Mosuo in southern China are often referred to as the last “real” matriarchy, because it goes far beyond mere matrilinearity (= inheritance of property based on the maternal line). Everything belongs to the women who live here by a large mountain lake near the Tibetan border - but they are also responsible for everything. This means that the women have to do heavy work such as fishing or farming themselves. They also make decisions.

The concept of partnership and parenting is particularly interesting: men are not married here, but accepted as lovers for a limited period of time - which does not mean that a woman does not recognize a man who is acceptable to her as a permanent partner. But the men live with their mothers for their entire lives and even after the birth of their children function at best as "leisure dads". Because the children are always assigned to the maternal uncle, who plays a very special role in many cultures. The advantage for women is obvious: no mother will stay with an unpleasant partner because of the children or the money; Domestic violence should also be largely excluded with this concept.

And what about the men? They work significantly less, have little responsibility and can indulge in idleness - even if they have to look after their sister (s) 'children. For those who don't know otherwise, it seems to be a well-rounded affair; When asked about their fate, male Mosuo said they were at least very satisfied. Is that because women choose to be the matriarch who can do the smartest? Or the fact that every decision has to be made to a consensus that everyone can live with? It is likely that the relatively high level of satisfaction among people in matriarchy cannot be determined by individual facts, but by the growing self-image of an order that is alien to us and that seems to level out a lot of competition, oppression and fears.

Khasi, India

Khasi means "born of a woman" and refers to the matrilineal form of society that the people in the Indian state of Meghalaya cultivate. In contrast to women in the rest of India, the female Khasi are economically and socially independent - this is even anchored in the constitution. A khaddu, usually the youngest daughter, becomes the main provider of the entire clan as soon as her predecessor can no longer perform her office. This puts a lot of responsibility on the female shoulders, which is shared as best as possible. Much emphasis is placed on the formation of a khaddu, which is why it is excluded from many jobs.

Men seem to have few problems with all ownership and responsibility being in the hands of women. They firmly believe in the business acumen and justice of their wives and also perceive their great equanimity when allowed to follow their calling. The Khasi women are often envied for their self-confidence and of course their freedoms when Indian tourists come to visit from other states. That is why it seems all the more important to the Khasi to keep their form of society alive and to tell other peoples about it.

Juchitán, Mexico

A matriarchal enclave has actually existed in the “land of the machos”: Juchitán. There, women are predominantly employed and set the tone: They do the business, sell the goods on the market and manage the family finances. Nevertheless, there is still enough to do for the men: agriculture, fishing or industry is their profession. Some doubt that this distribution of roles, which is unusual for Mexico, can be called matriarchy. However, there is another specialty in Juchitán for which the city is known far beyond its borders: the “third sex”, so-called “muxes”.

"Muxes", trans or homosexual men, are highly regarded in the southern Mexican city. Although homosexuality is heavily discriminated against in the rest of the country, they are widely recognized and valued in Juchitán. Most muxes work in "women's jobs" and are known for their hard work and business acumen - these are the standards by which they are measured, not sexual orientation. And just like the market traders, they set their prices according to the solvency of the individual customer and thus ensure an evenly distributed wealth that other Mexican cities can only dream of. So there is a little something in the paradisiacal idea of ​​matriarchy ...

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by Solveig Michelsen