Many people will be shocked to know that there are communities around the world where women are bosses over men. Some of these communities are matrilineal and matriarchal with women regarded as more important than men.
1). Mosuo people of China
The Mosuo or Na people of China are a small ethnic group living in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in China with a population of approximately 40,000.
The Mosuo people operate a matriarchal society unlike the patriarchal society that is predominant in many communities around the world. It means that the women take the role of head of family. They are held in high esteem as such dominate the household and family. They are responsible for housework, agricultural duties, and taking care of children.
Also, these women are responsible for most domestic jobs and are viewed with more respect and importance than men. The man is left with less or no work to do. Even after birth, the man has no moral, cultural, or legal obligation to take care of the child.
The role is left for the woman and if it is too much for her, her extended family are always willing to help her out.
When it comes to marriage, the Mosuo people operate what is called ‘walking marriages’ ie the women are the ones who choose partners and not the other way round. Again, there is nothing like marriage as the man does not live with the woman. In fact, the woman can have multiple partners as she wishes. The man is allowed to pay visits.
Mosuo people forbid the eating of dogs and regard the animal as a member of their family.
The Minangkabau people are regarded as the largest matrilineal society in the world. They are about 4.2 million in number. In the world of the Minangkabau, women rule. Property, family name, land are passed down from mother to daughter, while religious and political affairs are the responsibility of men. However, some women still play important roles religiously and otherwise.
It is important to note that the introduction of Sharia and modern lifestyle into the culture of the Minangkabau people is now favouring the men who are beginning to wield a greater influence and power.
3. Akan people of Ghana
All matriclan founders are female, but men traditionally hold leadership positions within the society. These inherited roles, however, are passed down matrilineally—meaning through a man’s mothers and sisters (and their children). Often, the man is expected to not only support his own family, but those of his female relatives.
Men and women alike have opportunities to rule as king or queen. It is not certainly a matriarchal society, because just like women, men also assume very important roles.
4. Bribri people of Costa Rica
This means that women have a very important place in Bribri society and are the only ones that can inherit land and prepare the sacred cacao (Theobroma cacao) drink that is essential for their rituals.
Men also have exclusive roles like – they are the only ones allowed to touch the remains of the dead, sing funeral songs, and prepare the food eaten at funerals.
5. The Garos
Inheritance and clan titles are traced from their mothers ie, property is owned by women, while the men govern the society and domestic affairs and manage the property.
Traditionally, the youngest daughter (nokmechik) inherits the property from her mother. Sons leave the parents’ house at puberty and are trained in the village bachelor dormitory (nokpante). After getting married, the man lives in his wife’s house.
In Garo habitations, the house where unmarried male youth or bachelors live is called Nokpante.
6). The Nagovisi people of South Bougainville, an island west of New Guinea.
7). The Serer tribe found in the present day Gambia and southern Mauritania.
8). The Aawambo or Ovambo people of Namibia.
9). The Nubians who originated from a region along the Nile River found in present-day Sudan and southern Egypt.
10). Ngazidja tribes men of Comoros.