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3 Matriarchal Societies in the World Where Women Are in Charge

There are over one hundred matriarchal societies in the world, the most important of which are in Indonesia (Minangkabau), Mexico (Juchitàn) and China (Moos). Their pacifist structure is of great teaching to Westerners, because it teaches us how to organize non-violent and collaborative societies: that is why matriarchy does not mean "domination" of women.

Matriarchal Societies

There are over a hundred matriarchal societies in the world today. A matriarchal society is a community of people based on the centrality of the female figure. A “Mother’s Day” is not necessary here, because people celebrate motherhood and femininity every day.

Today we can find this kind of society especially in Asia, the Americas and Africa. However, they run the serious risk of disappearing under the strong pressure of globalisation.

The Meaning of Matriarchal Societies

Some of these organizations have a millenary tradition.

Yet their value is not only historical. Indeed, their political, economic, social and spiritual structure can be of great importance to us Westerners. It can teach us how to organize and promote non-violent and mutual societies, where women are at the center of the social order. And, most important, they do not resort to forms of domination to guide their people.

People often confuse matriarchy with the idea of “woman’s domination”. In reality, in such social organizations, there is a real man-woman partnership. This continues to keep alive a different model of civilization for women and men. To better understand how they work, let us discover the three most numerous matriarchal societies in the world today.

Matriarchal Societies Today: Minangkabau in Sumatra

The Minangkabau of the Indonesian island are the largest matriarchal ethnic group on the planet since the 12th century. According to legend, the matriarchy spread here after the death of King Maharajo Dirajo, who abandoned three newborn babies with as many wives. The first of them, Puti Indo Jalito, took care of all the children. By doing so, she promoted the affirmation of a matrilineal model.

As a result, the Minangkabau woman is at the center of social life. In addition to family control, she has the task of facing and solving all problems outside the home. Although for decades there has been talk of the end of this feminist society, ethnicity has managed to carry on its traditions.

The Moos in China Live Without Husbands

The matriarchal society of the Moos differs from other similar societies because it does not practice marriage. Today the Moos are recognized by the Chinese government as an autonomous national ethnic minority. However, in the past, when Communism came into being, they had to celebrate marriage. Later, with the death of Mao Tse Tung, they stopped observing the prescription and the matriarchal structure returned.

Each member of the different clans takes the name of the oldest woman. In fact, she is the “mother of the clan“. In the same way, only Moos women can inherit the house and the land. The girls become members of the clan at the age of 13, after an initiation ceremony in which they receive the key to their bedroom.

The Women of Juchitàn in Mexico Inspired Frida Kahlo

The women of Juchitàn, Mexico, are the same that inspired the artist Frida Kahlo in her clothing. It is a matriarchal society, a little known but very interesting reality. The population of the Mexican city of Juchitán, one of several indigenous cities on the Pacific in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, has managed to keep most of its canons in the heart of Mexican society. It is an extraordinary example of urban matriarchy. It is the result of solidarity between women, their ability to be independent and free from the outside world, who have escaped despite continuous “male” attempts to intervene.

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