We live in a patriarchal society, a society in which we trace our lineage through our fathers. But there do exist some societies in this world which trace their lineage and heredity through the female members of the family. Let’s have a look at 5 such matrilineal societies of the world:
A tribe found in Meghalaya, India and some parts of Bangladesh, Garo is one of the very few matrilineal societies of the world. It is a matrilineal but NOT a matriarchal society which implies that though the hereditary is traced through the mother’s side, it is the male members who govern the domestic affairs and manage the property.
Mosuo is a tribe living in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in China, close to the border with Tibet. Though usually classified along with Nakhi (Naxi), these tribes are culturally distinct. Mosuo families trace their lineage through the female side of the family. The children belong to and reside within their mother’s household and there are times when they may not know who the father of the child is, which isn’t considered a disgrace as in most of the other societies.
Minangkabau people also known as Minang, is an ethnic group indigenous to the Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra, Indonesia. Their culture is matrilineal as well as patriarchal. This means that property and land is passed down from mother to daughter, while religious and political affairs are the responsibility of men, although some women also play important roles in these areas.
Primarily found in Northeastern Arizona (USA), the Hopi are a Native American tribe. Organised into matrilineal clans, the children born become members of their mother’s clan and are named by the women of the father’s clan.
The Bribri are an indigenous people of Costa Rica. Like most of the other matrilineal societies, the Bribri are organized into clans. The clan of the mother determines the clan of the child and only women are allowed to inherit land.
Though the system of matrilineal societies is on a decline, this whole system which thrives on women teaches us that we must give women the authority and respect they deserve.
Featured image source : http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/a19105/matriarchies-still-exist-today/