"Gynecocracy" and "Matriarch" redirect here. For the novel, see Gynecocracy (novel). For other uses, see Matriarch (disambiguation).

Template:Political anthropology Template:Forms of government

A matriarchy is a social organizational form in which the mother or oldest female heads the family and descent and relationship are determined through the female line and it is government or rule by a woman or women.

Most anthropologists hold that there are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal, but some authors believe that exceptions are possible, some of them in the past. Matriarchies may also be confused with matrilinear, matrilocal, matrifocal, and avunculocal societies. A few people consider any nonpatriarchal system to be matriarchal, thus including genderally equalitarian systems, but most academics exclude them from matriarchies strictly defined.

In 19th century Western scholarship, the hypothesis of matriarchy representing an early stage of human development—now mostly lost in prehistory, with the exception of some so-called primitive societies—enjoyed popularity. The hypothesis survived into the 20th century and was notably advanced in the context of second wave feminism, but this hypothesis is mostly discredited today, as that stage never having existed. Some older myths describe supposed matriarchies. Several modern feminists have advocated for matriarchy now or in the future and it has appeared in feminist fiction. Several theologies have opposed forms of matriarchy. Matriarchy has often been presented as negative, in contrast to patriarchy as natural and inevitable for society, thus that matriarchy is hopeless.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), matriarchy is "a form of social organization in which the mother or oldest female is the head of the family, and descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line; government or rule by a woman or women."[1] Within the academic discipline of cultural anthropology, according to the OED, matriarchy is "a culture or community in which such a system prevails"[1] or "a family, society, organization, etc., dominated by a woman or women."[1] A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property, but does not include a society that occasionally is led by a female for nonmatriarchal reasons or an occupation in which females generally predominate without reference to matriarchy, such as prostitution or women's auxiliaries of organizations run by men.

Most academics exclude egalitarian nonpatriarchal systems from matriarchies more strictly defined. According to Heide Göttner-Abendroth, a reluctance to accept the existence of matriarchies might be based on a specific culturally biased notion of how to define matriarchy: because in a patriarchy men rule over women, a matriarchy has frequently been conceptualized as women ruling over men,[2] while she believed that matriarchies are egalitarian.[2][3]

Most anthropologists hold that there are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal.[4][5][6][7][8] Some disagreements and possible exceptions are identified in this article. In 19th century Western scholarship, a hypothesis that matriarchy represented an early stage of human development—now mostly lost in prehistory, with the exception of some so-called primitive societies—enjoyed popularity. The hypothesis survived into the 20th century and was notably advanced in the context of feminism and especially second wave feminism, but the hypothesis is mostly discredited today, most experts saying that it never existed.[9]

Matriarchy has often been presented as negative, in contrast to patriarchy as natural and inevitable for society, thus that matriarchy is hopeless. Barbara Love and Elizabeth Shanklin wrote of this in The Answer is Matriarchy:

When we hear the word "matriarchy", we are conditioned to a number of responses: that matriarchy refers to the past and that matriarchies have never existed; that matriarchy is a hopeless fantasy of female domination, of mothers dominating children, of women being cruel to men. Conditioning us negatively to matriarchy is, of course, in the interests of patriarchs. We are made to feel that patriarchy is natural; we are less likely to question it, and less likely to direct our energies to ending it.[10]

Lawrence A. Kuznar claims that matriarchy is not worth more detailed consideration.[11]

Definitions and etymology

The word matriarchy, for a society politically led by females, especially mothers, who also control property, is often interpreted to mean the genderal opposite of patriarchy, but it is not an opposite (linguisticlly, it is not a parallel term).[12][13][14] Journalist Margot Adler wrote, "literally, ... ["matriarchy"] means government by mothers, or more broadly, government and power in the hands of women."[15] In The Answer is Matriarchy, Barbara Love and Elizabeth Shanklin wrote, "by 'matriarchy,' we mean a non-alienated society: a society in which women, those who produce the next generation, define motherhood, determine the conditions of motherhood, and determine the environment in which the next generation is reared."[16] According to Cynthia Eller, "'matriarchy' can be thought of ... as a shorthand description for any society in which women's power is equal or superior to men's and in which the culture centers around values and life events described as 'feminine.'"[17] Eller wrote that the idea of matriarchy mainly rests on two pillars, romanticism and modern social criticism.[18] The notion of matriarchy was meant to describe something like a utopia placed in the past in order to legitimate contemporary social criticism. With respect to a prehistoric matriarchal Golden Age, according to Barbara Epstein, "matriarchy ... means a social system organized around matriliny and goddess worship in which women have positions of power."[19] In the Marxist tradition, it usually refers to a pre-class society "where women and men share equally in production and power."[20]

According to Adler, "a number of feminists note that few definitions of the word ["matriarchy"], despite its literal meaning, include any concept of power, and they suggest that centuries of oppression have made it impossible for women to conceive of themselves with such power."[21]

The Matriarchal Studies school led by Göttner-Abendroth calls for an even more inclusive redefinition of the term: Göttner-Abendroth defines Modern Matriarchal Studies as the "investigation and presentation of non-patriarchal societies", effectively defining matriarchy as "non-patriarchy".[22] She has also defined matriarchy as characterized by the sharing of power equally between the two genders.[23] According to Diane LeBow, "matriarchal societies are often described as ... egalitarian ...",[24] although anthropologist Ruby Rohrlich has written of "the centrality of women in an egalitarian society."[25]Template:Efn Similarly, Peggy Reeves Sanday (2004) favors redefining and reintroducing the word matriarchy, especially in reference to contemporary matrilineal societies such as the Minangkabau.

Matriarchy is also the public formation in which the woman occupies the ruling position in a family.[1] Some, including Daniel Moynihan, claimed that there is a matriarchy among Black families in the United States,[26]Template:Efn because a quarter of them were headed by single women;[27] thus, families composing a substantial minority of a substantial minority could be enough for the latter to constitute a matriarchy within a larger non-matriarchal society (though many scholars would prefer the term matrifocal to matriarchal). In addition, some authors depart from the premise of a mother-child dyad as the core of a human group where the grandmother was the central ancestor with her children and grandchildren clustered around her in an extended family.[28]

Etymologically, it is from Greek matēr 'mother' and archein 'to rule'. According to the OED, the earliest known attestation of the word matriarchy is in 1885.[1] By contrast, gynæcocracy, meaning 'rule of women', has been in use since the 17th century, building on the Greek word γυναικοκρατία found in Aristotle and Plutarch.[29][30]

Related concepts

A matriarchy is also sometimes called a gynarchy, a gynocracy, a gynecocracy, or a gynocentric society, although these terms do not definitionally emphasize motherhood.

Gynecocracy, gynaecocracy, gynocracy, gyneocracy, and gynarchy

Gynecocracy, gynaecocracy, gynocracy, gyneocracy, and gynarchy generally mean 'government by women over women and men'.[31][32][33][34] All of these words are synonyms in their most important definitions. While these words all share that principal meaning, they differ a little in their additional meanings, so that gynecocracy also means 'women's social supremacy',[35] gynaecocracy also means 'government by one woman', 'female dominance', and, derogatorily, 'petticoat government',[36] and gynocracy also means 'women as the ruling class'.[37] Gyneocracy is rarely used in modern times.[38] None of these definitions are limited to mothers.

Some matriarchies have been described by historian Helen Diner as "a strong gynocracy"[39] and "women monopolizing government"[40] and she described matriarchal Amazons as "an extreme, feminist wing"[41]Template:Efn of humanity and that North African women "ruled the country politically,"[39] and, according to Adler, Diner "envision[ed] a dominance matriarchy".[42]


Gynocentrism is the 'dominant or exclusive focus on women', is opposed to androcentrism, and "invert[s] ... the privilege of the ... [male/female] binary ... [some feminists] arguing for 'the superiority of values embodied in traditionally female experience'".[43]

Intergenerational relationships

Some people who sought evidence for the existence of a matriarchy often mixed matriarchy with anthropological terms and concepts describing specific arrangements in the field of family relationships and the organization of family life, such as matrilineality and matrilocality. These terms refer to intergenerational relationships (as matriarchy may), but do not distinguish between males and females insofar as they apply to specific arrangements for sons as well as daughters from the perspective of their relatives on their mother's side. Accordingly, these concepts do not represent matriarchy as 'power of women over men'.[44]


Anthropologists have begun to use the term matrifocality. There is some debate concerning the terminological delineation between matrifocality and matriarchy. Matrifocal societies are those in which women, especially mothers, occupy a central position. Anthropologist R. L. Smith (2002) refers to matrifocality as the kinship structure of a social system where the mothers assume structural prominence.[45] The term does not necessarily imply domination by women or mothers.[45]


The term matricentric means 'having a mother as head of the family or household'.

Matristic societies

Feminist scholars and archeologists such as Marija Gimbutas, Gerda Lerner, and Riane Eisler[46] describe their notion of a "woman-centered" society surrounding Mother Goddess worship during prehistory (Paleolithic and Neolithic Europe) and in ancient civilizations, by using the term matristic rather than matriarchal.


Matrilineality, in which descent is traced through the female line, is sometimes conflated with matriarchy.[47]


Societies in which a couple resides close to the bride's family rather than the bridegroom's family are termed matrilocal by anthropologists.


By region and culture

Roman Empire

Tacitus noted in his Germania that many Germanic tribes of the time (circa 98 C.E.) "believe that there resides in women an element of holiness and prophecy, and so they do not scorn to ask their advice or lightly disregard their replies. In the reign of the deified Vespasian we saw Veleda long honoured by many Germans as a divinity, whilst even earlier they showed a similar reverence for Aurinia and others, a reverence untouched by flattery or any pretence of turning women into goddesses."[48] He went on to observe that in "the nations of the Sitones.... woman is the ruling sex."[49]Template:Efn

East Asia

The Mosuo culture, which is in China near Tibet, is frequently described as matriarchal.[50] The Mosuo themselves often use this description which they believe increases interest in their culture and thus attracts tourism. The term matrilineal is sometimes used, and, while more accurate, still doesn't reflect the full complexity of their social organization. In fact, it is not easy to categorize Mosuo culture within traditional Western definitions. They have aspects of a matriarchal culture: women are often the head of the house, inheritance is through the female line, and women make business decisions. However, unlike a true matriarchy, political power tends to be in the hands of males.[51]

Possible matriarchies in Burma are, according to Jorgen Bisch, the Padaungs[52] and, according to Andrew Marshall, the Kayaw.[53]

Native Americans

The Hopi (in what is now the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona), according to Alice Schlegel, had as its "gender ideology ... one of female superiority, and it operated within a social actuality of sexual equality."[54] According to LeBow (based on Schlegel's work), in the Hopi, "gender roles ... are egalitarian .... [and] [n]either sex is inferior."[55]Template:Efn LeBow concluded that Hopi women "participate fully in ... political decision-making."[56]Template:Efn According to Schlegel, "the Hopi no longer live as they are described here"[57] and "the attitude of female superiority is fading".[57] Schlegel said the Hopi "were and still are matrilinial"[58] and "the household ... was matrilocal".[58] Schlegel explains why there was female superiority as that the Hopi believed in "life as the highest good ... [with] the female principle ... activated in women and in Mother Earth ... as its source"[59] and that the Hopi "were not in a state of continual war with equally matched neighbors"[60] and "had no standing army"[60] so that "the Hopi lacked the spur to masculine superiority"[60] and, within that, as that women were central to institutions of clan and household and predominated "within the economic and social systems (in contrast to male predominance within the political and ceremonial systems)",[60] the Clan Mother, for example, being empowered to overturn land distribution by men if she felt it was unfair,[59] since there was no "countervailing ... strongly centralized, male-centered political structure".[59]

The Iroquois Confederacy or League, combining five to six Native American Haudenosaunee nations or tribes before the U.S. became a nation, operated by The Great Binding Law of Peace, a constitution by which women participated in the League's political decision-making, including deciding whether to proceed to war,[61] through what may have been a matriarchy[62] or "'gyneocracy'".[63] According to Doug George-Kanentiio, in this society, mothers exercise central moral and political roles.[64] The dates of this constitution's operation are unknown: the League was formed in approximately 1000–1450, but the constitution was oral until written in about 1880.[65] The League still exists.

Doug George-Kanentiio, in his chapter on the Iroquois family subtitled, "Women are the Center of Iroquois Life" (2000) explains:

In our society, women are the center of all things. Nature, we believe, has given women the ability to create; therefore it is only natural that women be in positions of power to protect this function....We traced our clans through women; a child born into the world assumed the clan membership of its mother. Our young women were expected to be physically strong....The young women received formal instruction in traditional planting....Since the Iroquois were absolutely dependent upon the crops they grew, whoever controlled this vital activity wielded great power within our communities. It was our belief that since women were the givers of life they naturally regulated the feeding of our people....In all countries, real wealth stems from the control of land and its resources. Our Iroquois philosophers knew this as well as we knew natural law. To us it made sense for women to control the land since they were far more sensitive to the rhythms of the Mother Earth. We did not own the land but were custodians of it. Our women decided any and all issues involving territory, including where a community was to be built and how land was to be used....In our political system, we mandated full equality. Our leaders were selected by a caucus of women before the appointments were subject to popular review....Our traditional governments are composed of an equal number of men and women. The men are chiefs and the women clan-mothers....As leaders, the women closely monitor the actions of the men and retain the right to veto any law they deem inappropriate....Our women not only hold the reigns of political and economic power, they also have the right to determine all issues involving the taking of human life. Declarations of war had to be approved by the women, while treaties of peace were subject to their deliberations.[66]

By chronology

Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages

Friedrich Engels, in 1884, claimed that, in the the earliest stages of human social development, there was group marriage and that therefore paternity was disputable, whereas maternity was not, so that a family could be traced only through the female line, and claimed that this was connected with the dominance of women over men or a Mutterrecht, which notion Engels took from Johann Jakob Bachofen, who claimed, based on his interpretations of myths, that myths reflected a memory of a time when women dominated over men.[67] Engels speculated that the domestication of animals increased wealth claimed by men. Engels said that men wanted control over women for use as laborers and because they wanted to pass on their wealth to their children, requiring monogamy. Engels did not explain how this could happen in a matriarchal society, but said that women's status declined until they became mere objects in the exchange trade between men and patriarchy was established, causing the global defeat of the female sex[68] and the rise of individualism,[69] competition, and dedication to achievement. According to Eller, Engels may have been influenced with respect to women's status by August Bebel,[70] according to whom this matriarchy resulted in communism while patriarchy did not.[71]

Austrian writer Bertha Diener, also known as Helen Diner, wrote Mothers and Amazons (1930), which was the first work to focus on women's cultural history. Hers is regarded as a classic of feminist matriarchal study.[72] Her view is that in the past all human societies were matriarchal; then, at some point, most shifted to patriarchal and degenerated. The controversy was reinforced further by the publication of The White Goddess by Robert Graves (1948) and his later analysis of classical Greek mythology and the vestiges of earlier myths that had been rewritten after a profound change in the religion of Greek civilization that occurred within its very early historical times. From the 1950s, Marija Gimbutas developed a theory of an Old European culture in Neolithic Europe which had matriarchal traits, replaced by the patriarchal system of the Proto-Indo-Europeans with the spread of Indo-European languages beginning in the Bronze Age. According to Epstein, anthropologists in the 20th century said that "the goddess worship or matrilocality that evidently existed in many paleolithic societies was not necessarily associated with matriarchy in the sense of women's power over men. Many societies can be found that exhibit those qualities along with female subordination."[73] From the 1970s, these ideas were taken up by popular writers of second-wave feminism and expanded with the speculations of Margaret Murray on witchcraft, by the Goddess movement, and in feminist Wicca, as well as in works by Elizabeth Gould Davis, Riane Eisler, and Merlin Stone.

"A Golden Age of matriarchy" was, according to Epstein, prominently presented by Charlene Spretnak and "encouraged" by Stone and Eisler,[74] but, at least for the Neolithic Age, has been denounced as feminist wishful thinking in The Inevitability of Patriarchy, in Why Men Rule, more recently by Philip G. Davis in Goddess Unmasked (1998), and by Eller in The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory (2000). According to Eller, Gimbutas had a large part in constructing a myth of historical matriarchy by examining Eastern European cultures that she asserts, by and large, never really bore any resemblance in character to the alleged universal matriarchy suggested by Gimbutas and Graves. She asserts that in "actually documented primitive societies" of recent (historical) times, paternity is never ignored and that the sacred status of goddesses does not automatically increase female social status, and believes that this affirms that utopian matriarchy is simply an inversion of antifeminism. The feminist scenarios of Neolithic matriarchy have been called into question and are not emphasized in third-wave feminism.

The original evidence recognized by Gimbutas, however, of Neolithic societies being more egalitarian than the Bronze Age Indo-European and Semitic patriarchies remains valid. Gimbutas herself has not described these societies as "matriarchal", preferring the term "woman-centered" or "matristic". Del Giorgio, in The Oldest Europeans (2006), insists on a matrifocal, matrilocal, matrilineal Paleolithic society.

Bronze Age

Minoan Crete and Sumer were among the cultures existing during the Bronze Age.

According to Rohrlich, "many scholars are convinced that Crete was a matriarchy, ruled by a queen-priestess"[75] and the "Cretan civilization" was "matriarchal" before "1500 B.C.," when it was overrun and colonized.[76]

Also according to Rohrlich, "in the early Sumerian city-states 'matriarchy seems to have left something more than a trace.'"[77]

One common misconception among historians of the Bronze Age such as Merlin Stone and Riane Eisler is the notion that the Semites were matriarchal while the Indo-Europeans practiced a patriarchal system. An example of this view is found in Merlin Stone's When God Was a Woman[page needed] where Stone attempts to make out a case that the worship of Yahweh was an Indo-European invention superimposed on an ancient matriarchal Semitic nation. Evidence from the Amorites and pre-Islamic Arabs, however, indicate that the primitive Semitic family was in fact patriarchal and patrilineal. Meanwhile, the Indo-Europeans were known to have practiced multiple succession systems, and there is much better evidence of matrilinear customs among the Indo-European Celts and Germans than among any ancient Semitic peoples.

No one Greek city-state was the same as another, and Spartan society granted women the most freedom of all the Greek city-states. Women could divorce at will, could own property in their own name, and had many other civil liberties that predate rights granted to modern women. In fact, they were running Sparta while the men were often away fighting. Gorgo, Queen of Sparta, responded to a question from a woman in Attica along the lines of, "why Spartan women were the only women in the world who could rule men? She replied, "because we are the only women who are mothers of men".

16th century

Some question whether a queen ruling without a king is sufficient to constitute female government, given the participation of other men in most such governments. One view is that it is sufficient. "By the end of [Queen] Elizabeth's reign, gynecocracy was a fait accompli", according to historian Paula Louise Scalingi.[78] Gynecocracy is defined by Scalingi as "government by women",[79] similar to dictionary definitions[32][33][34] (one dictionary adding 'women's social supremacy' to the governing role).[35] Scalingi reported arguments for and against the validity of gynocracy[80] and said, "the humanists treated the question of female rule as part of the larger controversy over sexual equality."[81] Possibly, queenship, because of the power wielded by men in leadership and assisting a queen, leads to queen bee syndrome, contributing to the difficulty of other women in becoming heads of the government.

19th century

The notion of matriarchy was defined by Joseph-Francois Lafitau (1681–1746), who first named it "ginecocratie".

The controversy surrounding prehistoric or "primal" matriarchy began in reaction to the book by Bachofen Mother Right: An Investigation of the Religious and Juridical Character of Matriarchy in the Ancient World in 1861. Several generations of ethnologists were inspired by his pseudo-evolutionary theory of archaic matriarchy. Following him and Jane Ellen Harrison, several generations of scholars, usually arguing from known myths or oral traditions and examination of Neolithic female cult-figures, suggested that many ancient societies might have been matriarchal, or even that there existed a wide-ranging matriarchal society prior to the ancient cultures of which we are aware. According to Uwe Wesel, Bachofen's myth interpretations have proved to be untenable.[82]

The concept was further investigated by Lewis H. Morgan, LL. D.[83] Many researchers studied the phenomenon of matriarchy afterward, but the basis was laid by the classics of sociology. In their works Bachofen and Lewis Morgan used such terms and expressions as mother-right, female rule, gyneocracy, and female authority. All these terms meant the same: the rule by females (mother or wife).

The notion of a "woman-centered" society was developed by Bachofen, whose three-volume Myth, religion, and mother right (1861) impacted the way classicists such as Jane Ellen Harrison, Sir Arthur Evans, Walter Burkert, and James Mellaart[84] looked at the evidence of matriarchal religion in pre-Hellenic societies.[85]

A claim of "matriarchy" in the ancient Near East is also found in The Cambridge Ancient History (1975):[86] "the predominance of a supreme goddess is probably a reflection from the practice of matriarchy which at all times characterized Elamite civilization to a greater or lesser degree".

The following excerpts from Lewis Morgan's "Ancient Society" will explain the use of the terms: "In a work of vast research, Bachofen has collected and discussed the evidence of female authority, mother-right, and of female rule, gynecocracy."

"Common lands and joint tillage would lead to joint-tenant houses and communism in living; so that gyneocracy seems to require for its creation, descent in the female line. Women thus entrenched in large households, supplied from common stores, in which their own gens so largely predominated in numbers, would produce the phenomena of mother right and gyneocracy, which Bachofen has detected and traced with the aid of fragments of history and of tradition."

Although Bachofen and Lewis Morgan confined the "mother right" inside households, it was the basis of female influence upon the whole society. The authors of the classics never thought that gyneocracy could mean 'female government' in politics. They were aware of the fact that the sexual structure of government had no relation to domestic rule and to roles of both sexes.

The 19th-century belief that matriarchal societies existed, a belief now abandoned among most scholars, was due to the transmission of "economic and social power ... through kinship lines"[87] so that "in a matrilineal society all power would be channeled through women. Women may not have retained all power and authority in such societies ..., but they would have been in a position to control and dispense power."[87]

Engels, among others studying historical groups, formed the notion that some contemporary primitive peoples did not grasp the link between sexual intercourse and pregnancy. Research indicated that sexual intercourse occurred from early ages and pregnancy only occurred much later, seemingly unrelated to the sexual activity. He proposed that these cultures had no clear notion of paternity, according to this hypothesis; women produced children mysteriously, without necessary links to the man or men with whom they had sex. When realization of paternity occurred, according to the hypothesis, men acted to claim a power to monopolize women and claim their offspring as possessions and patriarchy began.

20th century

Ethnographer Bronisław Malinowski, from the London School of Economics, lived among aborigines of the Trobriand Islands (Western Melanesia) and studied their society in 1914–1918. In his book Argonauts Of The Western Pacific,[88] B. Malinowski pointed at a matrilineal construction of the islanders' societies and at a high female position:

"Their system of kinship is matrilineal, and women hold a very good position, and wield great influence."[89]

"The Trobrianders are matrilineal, that is, in tracing descent and settling inheritance, they follow the maternal line. A child belongs to the clan and village community of its mother, and wealth, as well as social position, are inherited, not from father to son, but from maternal uncle to nephew."[90]

"As regards kinship, the main thing to be remembered is that the natives are matrilineal, and that the succession of rank, membership in all the social groups, and the inheritance of possessions descend in the maternal line."[90]

Property was succeeded inside the mother-line: "The ownership of trees in the village grove and ownership in garden plots is ceded by the father to his son during the lifetime of the former. At his death, it often has to be returned to the man's rightful heirs, that is, his sister's children."[90]

A man had a life-long obligation to work for women and their relatives in that society: "They entail a life-long obligation of every man to work for his kinswomen and their families. When a boy begins to garden, he does it for his mother. When his sisters grow up and marry, he works for them. If he has neither mother nor sisters, his nearest female blood relation will claim the proceeds of his labour".[91]

By studying several different tribes of the Western Pacific (employing the method of comparison, popular in ethnography), Malinowski gave confirmations of Lewis Morgan's idea that matriarchy (gyneocracy)[92] was a common feature of primitive societies at early stages, and that female rule needed matrilineality for its existence. He also confirmed that matrilineality often goes hand in hand with promiscuous free love (a fact that was discovered by Bachofen).

According to B. Malinowski:

"As a rule, amongst natives, a high position of women is associated with sex laxity."[93]

"The sexual life of these natives [the Southern Massim tribe] is extremely lax. Even when we remember the very free standard of sex morals in the Melanesian tribes of New Guinea, such as the Motu or the Mailu, we still find these natives exceedingly loose in such matters. Certain reserves and appearances which are usually kept up in other tribes, are here completely abandoned. As is probably the case in many communities where sex morals are lax, there is a complete absence of unnatural practices and sex perversions. Marriage is concluded as the natural end of a long and lasting liaison."[93]

"[The Trobrianders'] sexual life starts long before puberty arrives, and gradually shapes and develops as the organism matures... Chastity is an unknown virtue among these natives. At an incredibly early age they become initiated into sexual life... As they grow up, they live in promiscuous free-love, which gradually develops into more permanent attachments... Marriage is associated with hardly any public or private rite or ceremony. The woman simply joins her husband in his house... In her married life, the woman is supposed to remain faithful to her husband, but this rule is neither very strictly kept nor enforced. In all other ways, she retains a great measure of independence."[88]

While the existence of numerous matrilineal or avuncular societies is undisputed, it has been recognized since the 1970s that there are no societies which are matriarchal in the strong sense that some societies are patriarchal. Joan Bamberger in her 1974 The Myth of Matriarchy argued that the historical record contains no reliable evidence of any society in which women dominated. Although in 1977 cultural anthropologist Jules de Leeuwe argued that some societies were "mainly gynecocratic"[94] (others being "mainly androcratic"),[94]Template:Efn he did not identify any in his short response.[94] Anthropologist Donald Brown's list of human cultural universals (i.e., features shared by all current human societies) includes men being the "dominant element" in public political affairs (Brown 1991, p. 137), which he asserts is the contemporary opinion of mainstream anthropology.

Kurt Derungs is a non-academic author advocating an "anthropology of landscape" based on allegedly matriarchal traces in toponymy and folklore.

In 1995, in Kenya, according to Emily Wax, Umoja, a village only for women from one tribe with about 36 residents, was established under a "matriarch".[95] The matriarch counseled visiting females against forced marriage and on other matters and was invited to a United Nations conference.[95] Men of the same tribe established a village nearby from which to observe the women's village,[95] the men's leader objecting to the matriarch's questioning the culture[96] and men suing to close the women's village.[96] The village was still operational in 2005 when Wax reported on it.[95]

21st century

According to Adovasio, Soffer, and Page, no true matriarchy is known actually to have existed.[47] Spokespersons for various indigenous peoples at the United Nations and elsewhere have highlighted the central role of women in their societies, referring to them as matriarchies, or as matriarchal in character.[97][98] According to interviewer Anuj Kumar, Manipur, India, "has a matriarchal society",[99] but this may not be a scholarly assessment.


Greece and Rome

A legendary matriarchy related by classical Greek writers was the Amazon society. Herodotus reported that the Sarmatians were descendants of Amazons and Scythians, and that their females observed their ancient maternal customs, "frequently hunting on horseback with their husbands; in war taking the field; and wearing the very same dress as the men". Moreover, said Herodotus, "no girl shall wed till she has killed a man in battle". Amazons came to play a role in Roman historiography. Julius Caesar spoke of the conquest of large parts of Asia by Semiramis and the Amazons. Although Strabo was sceptical about their historicity, the Amazons were taken as historical throughout late Antiquity.[100] Several Church Fathers spoke of the Amazons as a real people. Medieval authors continued a tradition of locating the Amazons in the North, Adam of Bremen placing them at the Baltic Sea and Paulus Diaconus in the heart of Germania.[101]

Historian Ronald Hutton has argued that there is no necessary correlation between the worship of female deities and relative levels of social or legal egalitarianism, noting the late classical Greek and Roman religions, in which goddesses played important roles. The changes from the earlier mythology are not considered in her analysis, however, and the late classical myths were dominated by male deities. Hutton has also pointed out that, in more recent European history, in 17th century Spain, there were many religious institutions staffed exclusively by women.

In Greek mythology, Zeus is said to have swallowed his pregnant lover, the titan goddess Metis, who was carrying their daughter, Athena. The mother and child created havoc inside Zeus. Either Hermes or Hephaestus split Zeus's head, allowing Athena, in full battle armor, to burst forth from his forehead. Athena was thus described as being "born" from Zeus. Zeus was pleased with the outcome a prophecy that his son would surpass him had not been fulfilled. Robert Graves suggested that this myth displaced earlier myths that had to change when a major cultural change brought patriarchy to replace a matriarchy.

Apparently as criticism, about 2,400 years ago, in 390 BCE, Aristophanes wrote a play, Ecclesiazusae, about women gaining legislative power and governing Athens, Greece, on a limited principle of equality. In the play, Praxagora, a character, argues that women should rule because they are superior to men, not equal, and yet she declines to assert publicly her right to rule, although elected and although acting in office.[102] The play also suggests that women would rule by not allowing politics, in order to prevent disappointment, and that affirmative action would be applied to heterosexual relationships.[102] In the play, written when Athens was a male-only democracy where women could not vote or rule, women were presented as unassertive and unrealistic, and thus not qualified to govern.[102] The play was a fable on the theme that women should stay home.[103]

Celtic myth and society

"There is plenty of evidence of ancient societies where women held greater power than in many societies today. For example, Jean Markale's studies of Celtic societies show that the power of women was reflected not only in myth and legend but in legal codes pertaining to marriage, divorce, property ownership, and the right to rule."[104]

South America

Bamberger (1974) examines several matriarchal myths from South American cultures and concludes that portraying the women from this matriarchal period as evil often serves to restrain contemporary women.

In feminist thought

For groups and communities without men, see separatist feminism.

While matriarchy has mostly fallen out of use for the anthropological description of existing societies, it remains current as a concept in feminism.[105][106]

In first-wave feminist discourse, either Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Margaret Fuller (it is unclear who was first) introduced the concept of matriarchy[107] and the discourse was joined in by Matilda Joslyn Gage.[108] Victoria Woodhull, in 1871, called for men to open the U.S. government to women or a new constitution and government would be formed in a year;[109] and, on a basis of equality, she ran to be elected President in 1872.[110][111] Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in 1911 and 1914,[112] argued for "a woman-centered, or better mother-centered, world"[113] and described "'government by women'".[114] She argued that a government led by either sex must be assisted by the other,[115] both genders being "useful ... and should in our governments be alike used",[116] because men and women have different qualities.[117]

Cultural feminism includes "matriarchal worship", according to Prof. James Penner.[118]

In feminist literature, matriarchy and patriarchy are not conceived as simple mirrors of each other.[119] While matriarchy sometimes means "the political rule of women",[120] that meaning is often rejected, on the ground that matriarchy is not a mirroring of patriarchy.[121] Patriarchy is held to be about power over others while matriarchy is held to be about power from within,[119] Starhawk having written on that distinction[119][122] and Adler having argued that matriarchal power is not possessive and not controlling, but is harmonious with nature.[123]

For radical feminists, the importance of matriarchy is that "veneration for the female principle ... somewhat lightens an oppressive system."[124]

Feminist utopias are a form of advocacy. According to Tineke Willemsen, "a feminist utopia would ... be the description of a place where at least women would like to live."[125] Willemsen continues, among "type[s] of feminist utopias[,] ... [one] stem[s] from feminists who emphasize the differences between women and men. They tend to formulate their ideal world in terms of a society where women's positions are better than men's. There are various forms of matriarchy, or even a utopia that resembles the Greek myth of the Amazons.... [V]ery few modern utopias have been developed in which women are absolute autocrats."[126]

A minority of feminists, generally radical,[105][106] have argued that women should govern societies of women and men. In all of these advocacies, the governing women are not limited to mothers:

  • In her book Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women’s Liberation, Andrea Dworkin stated that she wanted women to have their own country, "Womenland,"[127] which, comparable to Israel, would serve as a "place of potential refuge".[127][128] In the Palestine Solidarity Review, Veronica A. Ouma reviewed the book and argued her view that while Dworkin "pays lip service to the egalitarian nature of ... [stateless] societies [without hierarchies], she envisions a state whereby women either impose gender equality or a state where females rule supreme above males."[129]
  • Starhawk, in The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993), fiction, wrote of "a utopia where women are leading societies but are doing so with the consent of men."[130]
  • Phyllis Chesler wrote in Women and Madness (2005 and 1972) that feminist women must "dominate public and social institutions".[131] She also wrote that women fare better when controlling the means of production[132] and that equality with men should not be supported,[133] even if female domination is no more "'just'"[133] than male domination.[133] On the other hand, in 1985, she was "probably more of a feminist-anarchist ... more mistrustful of the organisation of power into large bureaucratic states [than she was in 1972]".[134]Template:Efn Between Chesler's 1972 and 2005 editions, Dale Spender wrote that Chesler "takes [as] a ... stand [that] .... [e]quality is a spurious goal, and of no use to women: the only way women can protect themselves is if they dominate particular institutions and can use them to serve women's interests. Reproduction is a case in point."[135] Spender wrote Chesler "remarks ... women will be superior".[136]
  • Monique Wittig authored, as fiction (not as fact), Les Guérillères,[137] with her description of an asserted "female State".[138] The work was described by Rohrlich as a "fictional counterpart" to "so-called Amazon societies".[139] Scholarly interpretations of the fictional work include that women win a war against men,[140][141] "reconcil[e]"[142] with "those men of good will who come to join them",[142] exercise feminist autonomy[143] through polyandry,[144] decide how to govern,[143] and rule the men.[145] The women confronting men[146] are, according to Tucker Farley, diverse and thus stronger and more united[147] and, continued Farley, permit a "few ... men, who are willing to accept a feminist society of primitive communism, ... to live."[148] Another interpretation is that the author created an "'open structure' of freedom".[149]
  • Mary Daly wrote of hag-ocracy, "the place we ["women traveling into feminist time/space"] govern",[150] and of reversing phallocratic rule[151] in the 1990s (i.e., when published).[152] She considered equal rights as tokenism that works against sisterhood, even as she supported abortion being legal and other reforms.[153] She considered her book female and anti-male.[154]

Some such advocacies are informed by work on past matriarchy:

  • According to Prof. Linda M. G. Zerilli, "an ancient matriarchy ... [was "in early second-wave feminism"] the lost object of women's freedom."[155] Prof. Cynthia Eller found widespread acceptance of matriarchal myth during feminism's second wave.[156] According to Kathryn Rountree, the belief in a prepatriarchal "Golden Age" of matriarchy may have been more specifically about a matrifocal society,[157] although this was believed more in the 1970s than in the 1990s–2000s and was criticized within feminism and within archaeology, anthropology, and theological study as lacking a scholarly basis.[158] Eller said that, other than a few separatist radical lesbian feminists, spiritual feminists would include "a place for men ... in which they can be happy and productive, if not necessarily powerful and in control"[159] and might have social power as well.[160]
  • Jill Johnston envisioned a "return to the former glory and wise equanimity of the matriarchies"[161] in the future[161] and "imagined lesbians as constituting an imaginary radical state, and invoked 'the return to the harmony of statehood and biology....'"[162] Her work inspired efforts at implementation by the Lesbian Organization of Toronto (LOOT) in 1976–1980[163] and in Los Angeles.[164]
  • Elizabeth Gould Davis believed that a "matriarchal counterrevolution [replacing "a[n old] patriarchal revolution"] ... is the only hope for the survival of the human race."[165] She believed that "spiritual force",[166] "mental and spiritual gifts",[166] and "extrasensory perception"[166]Template:Efn will be more important and therefore that "woman will ... predominate",[166] and that it is "about ... ["woman" that] the next civilization will ... revolve",[166] as in the kind of past that she believed existed.[166] According to critic Prof. Ginette Castro, Davis used the words matriarchy and gynocracy "interchangeably"[167] and proposed a discourse "rooted in the purest female chauvinism"[168]Template:Efn and seemed to support "a feminist counterattack stigmatizing the patriarchal present",[167] "giv[ing] ... in to a revenge-seeking form of feminism",[167] "build[ing] ... her case on the humiliation of men",[167] and "asserti[ng] ... a specifically feminine nature ... [as] morally superior."[167] Castro criticized Davis' essentialism and assertion of superiority as "sexist"[167] and "treason".[167]
  • One organization that was named The Feminists was interested in matriarchy[169] and was one of the largest of the radical feminist women's liberation groups of the 1960s.[170] Two members wanted "'the restoration of female rule'",[171] but the organization's founder, Ti-Grace Atkinson, would have objected had she remained in the organization, because, according to a historian, "[she] had always doubted that women would wield power differently from men."[172]
  • Robin Morgan wrote of women fighting for and creating a "gynocratic world".[173]
  • Adler reported, "if feminists have diverse views on the matriarchies of the past, they also are of several minds on the goals for the future. A woman in the coven of Ursa Maior told me, 'right now I am pushing for women's power in any way I can, but I don't know whether my ultimate aim is a society where all human beings are equal, regardless of the bodies they were born into, or whether I would rather see a society where women had institutional authority.'"[174]

Some fiction caricatured the current gender hierarchy by describing a matriarchal alternative without advocating for it. According to Karin Schönpflug, "Gerd Brantenberg's Egalia's Daughters is a caricature of powered gender relations which have been completely reversed, with the female sex on the top and the male sex a degraded, oppressed group";[175] "gender inequality is expressed through power inversion"[176] and "all gender roles are reversed and women rule over a class of intimidated, effeminate men".[177] "Egalia is not a typical example of gender inequality in the sense that a vision of a desirable matriarchy is created; Egalia is more a caricature of male hegemony by twisting gender hierarchy but not really offering a 'better world.'"[177][178]

On egalitarian matriarchy,[179] Heide Göttner-Abendroth's International Academy for Modern Matriarchal Studies and Matriarchal Spirituality (HAGIA) organized conferences in Luxembourg in 2003[180] and Texas in 2005,[181][182] with papers published.[183] Göttner-Abendroth argued that "matriarchies are all egalitarian at least in terms of gender—they have no gender hierarchy .... [, that, f]or many matriarchal societies, the social order is completely egalitarian at both local and regional levels",[184] that, "for our own path toward new egalitarian societies, we can gain ... insight from ... ["tested"] matriarchal patterns",[185] and that "matriarchies are not abstract utopias, constructed according to philosophical concepts that could never be implemented."[186]

"A deep distrust of men's ability to adhere to"[187] future matriarchal requirements may invoke a need "to retain at least some degree of female hegemony to insure against a return to patriarchal control",[187] "feminists ... [having] the understanding that female dominance is better for society—and better for men—than the present world order",[188] as is equalitarianism. On the other hand, if men can be trusted to accept equality, probably most feminists seeking future matriarchy would accept an equalitarian model.[188]

"Demographic[ally]",[189] "feminist matriarchalists run the gamut"[189] but primarily are "in white, well-educated, middle-class circles";[189] many of the adherents are "religiously inclined"[189] while others are "quite secular".[189]

Biology as a ground for holding either males or females superior over the other has been criticized as invalid, such as by Andrea Dworkin[190] and by Robin Morgan, in The Demon Lover. A claim that women have unique characteristics that prevent women's assimilation with men has been apparently rejected by Ti-Grace Atkinson.[191] On the other hand, not all advocates based their arguments on biology or essentialism.

A criticism of choosing who governs according to gender or sex is that the best qualified people should be chosen, regardless of gender or sex.[192] On the other hand, merit was considered insufficient for office, because a legal right granted by a sovereign (e.g., a king), was more important than merit.[193]

Diversity within a proposed community can make it especially challenging to complete forming the community.[194] However, some advocacy includes diversity.[195][196]

Prof. Christine Stansell, a feminist, wrote that, for feminists to achieve state power, women must democratically cooperate with men. "Women must take their place with a new generation of brothers in a struggle for the world's fortunes. Herland, whether of virtuous matrons or daring sisters, is not an option.... [T]he well-being and liberty of women cannot be separated from democracy's survival."[197] (Herland was feminist utopian fiction by Charlotte Perkins Gilman,[198] featuring a community entirely of women except for three men who seek it out,[199] strong women in a matriarchal utopia[200] expected to last for generations,[201] although Charlotte Perkins Gilman was herself[202] a feminist advocate of society being gender-integrated and of women's freedom.)

Other criticisms of superiority are that it is reverse sexism or discriminatory against men, it is opposed by most people including most feminists, women do not want such a position,[192] governing takes women away from family responsibilities, women are too likely to be unable to serve politically because of menstruation and pregnancy,[203] public affairs are too sordid for women[204] and would cost women their respect,[205] and femininity (apparently including fertility),[206] superiority is not traditional,[192][207] it is impractical because of a shortage of women with the ability to govern at that level of difficulty,[192][205] including the desire and ability to wage war,[192] women legislating would not serve men's interests[205][208] or would serve only petty interests,[205] it is contradicted by current science on genderal differences,[192] and it is unnatural.[209][210][211][212]

Pursuing a future matriarchy would tend to risk sacrificing feminists' position in present social arrangements, and many feminists are not willing to take that chance.[187] "Political feminists tend to regard discussions of what utopia would look like as a good way of setting themselves up for disappointment"[213] and argue that immediate political issues must get the highest priority.[213]

"'Matriarchists'" as typified by comic character Wonder Woman were criticized by Kathie Sarachild, Carol Hanisch, and some others.[214]

In religious thought


Some theology and theocracy limit or forbid women from being in civil government or public leadership or forbid them from voting,[215] effectively criticizing and forbidding matriarchy. Within none of the following religions is the respective view necessarily universally held:

  • In Islam, some Muslim scholars hold that female political leadership is prohibited.[216] The prohibition has been attributed to a hadith of Muhammad,[217] the founder and last prophet of Islam. The hadith says, "A people which has a woman as leader will never prosper."[218] The hadith's transmission, context, and meaning have been questioned.[219] The prohibition has also been attributed as an extension of a ban on women leading prayers "in mixed gatherings" (which has been challenged)[220] and to a restriction on women traveling (an attribution also challenged).[221] Possibly, the hadith applies only against being head of state and not other high office.[222] One source would allow a woman to "occupy every position except that of khalīfa (the leader of all Muslims)."[223] One exception to the head-of-state prohibition was accepted without a general acceptance of women in political leadership.[224] Political activism at lower levels may be more acceptable to Islamist women than top leadership positions.[225][226] The Muslim Brotherhood has stated that women may not be president or head of state but may hold other public offices but, "as for judiciary office, .... [t]he majority of jurispudents ... have forbidden it completely."[227] In a study of 82 Islamists in Europe, 80% said women could not be state leaders but 75% said women could hold other high positions.[228] In 1994, the Muslim Brotherhood said that "'social circumstances and traditions'" may justify gradualism in the exercise of women's right to hold office (below head of state).[229] Whether the Muslim Brothers still support that statement is unclear.[230] As reported in 1953, "Islamic organizations held a conference in the office of the Muslim Brothers .... [and] claim[ed] ... that it had been proven that political rights for women were contrary to religion".[231] Some nations have specific bans. In Iran at times, women have been forbidden to fill some political offices because of law or because of judgments made under the Islamic religion.[232] As to Saudi Arabia, "Saudi women ... are ... not allowed to enter parliament as anything more than advisors; they cannot vote, much less serve as representatives".[233]
  • In Judaism, among orthodox leaders, a position, beginning before Israel became a modern state, has been that for women to hold public office in Israel would threaten the state's existence, according to educator Tova Hartman,[234] who reports the view has "wide consensus".[235] When Israel ratified the international women's equality agreement known as CEDAW, it reserved nonenforcement for any religious communities that forbid women from sitting on religious courts.[236] "The tribunals that adjudicate marital issues are by religious law and by custom entirely male."[237] "'Men's superiority' is a fundamental tenet in Judaism".[238] Likud party-led "governments have been less than hospitable to women's high-level participation."[239]
  • In Buddhism, some hold that "the Buddha allegedly hesitated to admit women to the Saṅgha ...."[240] "In certain Buddhist countries—Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Thailand—women are categorically denied admission to the Saṅgha, Buddhism's most fundamental institution."[241] "Throughout history, the support of the Saṅgha has been actively sought as a means of legitimation by those wishing to gain and maintain positions of political power in Buddhist countries."[242]
  • Among Hindus in India, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, "India's most extensive all-male Hindu nationalist organization,"[243] has debated whether women can ever be Hindu nationalist political leaders[244] but without coming to a conclusion.[244] The Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, a counterpart organization composed of women,[244] believes that women can be Hindu nationalist political leaders[244] and has trained two in Parliament,[245] but considers women only as exceptions,[246] the norm for such leadership being men.[244]
  • In Protestant Christianity, considered only historically, in 1558, John Knox wrote The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.[247] The work is "perhaps the best known analysis of gynecocracy"[81] and Knox was "the most notorious"[81] writer on the subject.[81] According to an 1878 edition, Knox's objection to any women reigning and having "empire"[248] over men was theological[248] and it was against nature for women to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city.[249] Susan M. Felch said that Knox's argument was partly grounded on a statement of the apostle Paul against women teaching or usurping authority over men.[250] According to Maria Zina Gonçalves de Abreu, Knox argued that a woman being a national ruler was unnatural[251] and that women were unfit and ineligible for the post.[252] Kathryn M. Brammall said Knox "considered the rule of female monarchs to be anathema to good government"[253] and that Knox "also attacked those who obeyed or supported female leaders",[254] including men.[254] Robert M. Healey said that Knox objected to women's rule even if men accepted it.[255] On whether Knox personally endorsed what he wrote, according to Felch, Jasper Ridley, in 1968, argued that even Knox may not have personally believed his stated position but may have merely pandered to popular sentiment,[256] itself a point disputed by W. Stanford Reid.[257] On the popularity of Knox's views, Patricia-Ann Lee said Knox's "fierce attack on the legitimacy of female rule ... [was one in which] he said ... little that was unacceptable ... to most of his contemporaries",[258] although Judith M. Richards disagreed on whether the acceptance was quite so widespread.[259] According to David Laing's Preface to Knox's work, Knox's views were agreed with by some people at the time, the Preface saying, "[Knox's] views were in harmony with those of his colleagues ... [Goodman, Whittingham, and Gilby]".[260] Writing in agreement with Knox was Christopher Goodman, who, according to Lee, "considered the woman ruler to be a monster in nature, and used ... scriptural argument to prove that females were barred ... from any political power",[261] even if, according to Richards, the woman was "virtuous".[262] Some views included conditionality; while John Calvin said, according to Healey, "that government by a woman was a deviation from the original and proper order of nature, and therefore among the punishments humanity incurred for original sin",[263]Template:Efn nonetheless Calvin would not always question a woman's right to inherit rule of a realm or principality.[264] Heinrich Bullinger, according to Healey, "held that rule by a woman was contrary to God's law but cautioned against [always] using that reason to oppose such rule".[265] According to Richards, Bullinger said women were normally not to rule.[266] Around 1560, Calvin, in disagreeing with Knox, argued that the existence of the few women who were exceptions showed that theological ground existed for their exceptionalism.[267] Knox's view was much debated in Europe at the time,[268] the issue considered complicated by laws such as on inheritance[259] and since several women were already in office, including as Queens.[269] Knox's view is not said to be widely held in modern Protestantism among leadership or laity.


Main articles: Thealogy and Goddess movement

Feminist thealogy conceptualized humanity as beginning with "female-ruled or equalitarian societies",[270] until displaced by patriarchies,[271] and that in the millennial future "'gynocentric,' life-loving values"[271] will return to prominence.[271] This produces "a virtually infinite number of years of female equality or superiority coming both at the beginning and end of historical time."[272]

Among criticisms is that a future matriarchy, as a reflection of spirituality, is conceived as timeless and ahistorical,[273] and thus may be unrealistic or even meaningless as a goal to secular feminists. Many of what are labeled as matriarchies may be labeled as matrifocal, matristic, or gynocentric instead,[274] thus lowering the number of true or narrowly-defined matriarchies that existed in the past as models for the future. Parts of a thealogical history of matriarchy may be unsupported by secular modern historical scholarship.

In popular culture




  • Gene Roddenberry's Planet Earth (TV pilot) (1974) features a matriarchal society called the "Sisters of Ruth," where the men are drugged through their food.[284]
  • In the British/German television series, Star Maidens (1976), the planet Medusa has a "matriarchal structure" where "[a]ll of the women perform fulfilling, non-menial work, all are educated, childcare is a non-issue as children are cared for (offscreen) by men, and women possess technology that keeps male aggression in check."[285]
  • In the Space: 1999 episode Devil's Planet (1977), Entra is a prison planet where the rulers and wardens are all women, and the prisoners are all men, who are "political dissidents who spoke against female rule."[286]
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Angel One" (1988), the planet Angel One "has a matriarchal society because biologically women are the stronger sex (they are taller and physically stronger) and men are treated as second class citizens."[287]

Video games

  • In the Mass Effect universe, the Asari are a monogender-pansexual "female" species. Krogan women are segregated into their own all-female clans; they hold political and economic influence over the male clans who wish to breed with fertile females. Salarians society consist of 10% female matriarchs and 90% male drones; politics is the exclusive domain of women.



See also



  • Czaplicka, Marie Antoinette. (1914). Aboriginal Siberia, a study in social anthropology. Oxford. Clarendon Press.
  • Davis, Philip, Goddess Unmasked, Spence Publishing, New York, 1998. review: R. Sheaffer, Skeptical Inquirer (1999).
  • del Giorgio, J.F. (2006). The Oldest Europeans. A.J.Place. ISBN 978-980-6898-00-4.
  • Eller, Cynthia (2001). The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future. ISBN 0-8070-6793-8.
  • Finley, M.I. (1962). The World of Odysseus. London. Pelican Books.
  • Gimbutas, Marija (1991). The Language of the Goddess.
  • Goldberg, Steven (1993) Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance, rev. ed. ISBN 0-8126-9237-3.
  • Hutton, Ronald (1993). The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles. ISBN 0-631-18946-7.
  • Lapatin, Kenneth (2002). Mysteries of the Snake Goddess: Art, Desire, and the Forging of History. ISBN 0-306-81328-9.
  • Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to Eighteen-seventy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1993. ISBN 0-19-509060-8.
  • Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Patriarchy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1986. ISBN 0-19-505185-8.
  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves. (2004). Woman at the Center: Life in a Modern Matriarchy. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8906-7.
  • Shorrocks, Bryan. (2007). The Biology of African Savannahs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-857066-X.
  • ISBN 0-415-22310-5.
  • Sukumar Raman, (2006). "A brief review of the status, distribution and biology of wild Asian elephants Elephas maximus." International Zoo Yearbook. (40)1; 1–8.
  • Yoshamya, Mitjel & Yoshamya, Zyelimer (2005). Gan-Veyan: Neo-Liburnic glossary, grammar, culture, genom. Old-Croatian Archidioms, Monograph I, p. 1–1224, Scientific society for Ethnogenesis studies, Zagreb.

External links

  • Lady Land for fictional and real-life examples.

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