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Matriarchal Societies

matriarchy in rural areas and in the modern countries; Global Gender Gap results; status of Poland

Besire Paralik

on 29 July 2014

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Transcript of Matriarchal Societies

Matriarchal Societies
human ancestor
has started to socialize
by sharing food,
and caring for infants.

Over time, their food gathering leads to build social networks.

Rise of patriarchy
has started
around six-to ten thousand years ago
Domination of men over women
Form of social organization

mother or oldest female
is the
head of the family
relationships through the female line
governmental or social rules established by a woman
According to some anthroplogists, some societies are known to have been matriarchal in the past as well as today
Anthropological evidence suggests that patriarchal social structures did not develop until
many years after the end of the Pleistocene era, following social and technological innovations.
Human society was matriarchal
—or at least

Before paternity had not yet been discovered, childbirth was seen mysterious and vital.
were worshipped and considered
because of it.

Men : Body of workers for women and worshippers of them.
Gradually, the idea of male ownership of children took hold.
Women gradually lost their freedom, mystery, and superior position

Slowly, in varying stages and in different parts of the world, the social order was painfully reversed.
Women became the underclass, marked by their visible differences.
Mosuo, one of the world’s last matrilineal societies located deep in south-west China.
The place known as the Kingdom of Women.
Mosuo women do not marry,
so there is no word for
Women take as many lovers as they wish.
There’s no stigma in not knowing who a child’s father is.
Through the female line
Mosuo women

All the
cleaning, tending the fire, cooking, gathering firewood...
Mosuo men:
Responsibility of

‘Best dads in the world’
They play with their babies five times more often then men from other societies.

Women hunt, men cook.
Most staggering of all, Aka fathers offer their nipples as pacifiers
to their babies when mum isn’t around.
Couples share food preparation, and social and leisure activities.
A traditional hunter-gatherer society
Fathers of the Aka tribe spend more time in close contact to their babies than in any other known society.
"I guess men will have to get used to the idea that women are not for sale’’
Women hold

of seats in the parliament.
Today, one of the largest Womyn’s Lands is found in rural Alabama, in a camp called Alapine Village.
The rainiest place on Earth
(According to the Guinness Book of Records)
Tribal population

Women, rather than men, own land and property.
The youngest daughter in the family:
Inherits all the property
as well as acting as
of aged parents and unmarried siblings.
Alapine Village, begun in
by three visionary women...
Wooden homes and cabins,
earth sheltered home,
manufactured homes.
Electricity and city water are available while some members use rainwater collection, wood heat, solar energy, propane, and composting toilets.
Most aged between 50 and 80
Working the land by day
Meeting for ‘community full moon circles’ Activities: singing and reading poems by night.
Global Gender Gap Index 2013
Since 2006, the World Economic Forum has issued a Global Gender Gap Index to review gender-based inequalities around the world and track progress in closing the gap in four areas:

educational attainment
economic participation, and
political empowerment.

According to The Global Gender Gap Report 2013, of the 136 countries measured since 2006, 86 percent have improved their performance every year, while 14 percent have shown widened gaps.
Overall Top and Bottom 10:
"walking marriages"
The child always remains
in the mother’s care.
West Sumatra,
in Indonesia
With four million people, the Minangkabau are the
known matrilineal society today
Tribal law
Requiring all clan property
to be held and bequeathed
from mother to daughter
The mother is the most important person in society.
The Minangkabau are
strongly Islamic.
Upon marriage, the
husband must leave
early in the morning
to have breakfast
at his mother’s home.
At the age of 10, boys leave their mother’s home to stay in
men's quarters
and learn practical skills.
A Minangkabau bride and groom.
Although men are always clan chief, choosing and removing the chief is under the control of women
BRIBRI (Costa Rica)
Organized in Clans
Each clan is composed of an extended family.

The clan system is matrilineal
Women are very important
Women are the only ones that can prepare the
sacred cacao
Theobrma cacao
that is essential for their
For them the
cacao tree
used to be a
and Sibu (God)
turned into a tree.
Cacao branches are never used as firewood and only women are allowed to prepare and serve the sacred drink.
Cacao is used in special occasions, ceremonies ,
in certain rites of passage...

such as when young girls have their first menstruation.
GARO Meghalaya, India
Garos pass property and political succession
from mother to daughter
Once married, the husband lives in his
wife’s house
If marriage does not work out, the union is dissolved without social stigma. Marriage is not a binding contract,
one is expected to remarry
after divorce
(South Bougainville)
Nagovisi women are involved in leadership and ceremonies
Marriage is
not institutionalized
If a couple is seen together, sleeps together, and the
man assists the woman in her garden
, for all intents and purposes they are considered married.
Sex role differentiation in gardening...
Men - heavy clearing
Women - run the gardens
Women make most
major decisions
; they control household finances, have the rightful ownership of land and houses.
A Mosuo female is considered female after she has participated in the coming of
age ceremony
This ceremony, observed between the ages of 12 and 14

Here women are introduced to
Prior to the coming of
age ceremony
, all Mosuo children dress the same.
From the age
of 13, after
being initiated, females may choose to take lovers from men within the tribe, having as many or as few as they please
over their lifetime

in which women occupy high positions
Iceland - no change from 2009
in rural areas
(moved up from number 4 in 2008)
2009 - Criminalised the purchase of sex
2010 - Strip clubs has banned.
Gender equality is very
in Iceland compared to most countries in the world.
The first country in the world to give women both the right to vote and stand for election
Norway has been described as a “heaven for Gender equality” by CEDAW -
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly
The 3 Most Unfair Countries
for Women
The poorest country in the Arab world

high unemployment
widespread corruption
human rights abuses
Women in Yemen are perceived and treated as inferior to men.
limited access to:
health care,
economic opportunities,
year of education females :

work force
women :

Illiteracy rate is
52 %

(child marriages)
14% of girls : married before reaching age 15

52% are married before 18.
women die everyday due to complications during childbirth.
The economy: oil reserves.
Women face significant challenges in society
Literacy rates

males at
Low income country
In any case, the English word “gender” is hardly new to Poland
Academics have managed to establish topic of gender equality in
Polish humanities
, and the country has had time to get used to it.
In 2013, Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek: “I would like to add that the ideology of

presents a threat worse than Nazism and Communism combined.”
...and added:
"Gender ideology is at odds with nature and natural law."
After his statement posters have appeared in schools proclaiming,
“Protect Your Child Against Gender”
Almost every day there are new pronouncements warning against gender ideology...

A priest in Poznan:
“gender leads to the devastation of families”

“is associated with radical feminism,
which advocates for abortion,
the employment of women
and the detention of children in preschools.”
Conservative politicians :
“Stop Gender Ideology”
“The aim of gender education is the sexualization of children and young people.”
Population: 325,671
The Nordic Countries:
Leaders in the area of the Economic Participation
and Opportunity subindex
All Nordic countries reached
literacy for both
sexes several decades ago and display gender parity at
both primary-and secondary-level of education.
The labour force participation rates of the women:
Among the highest in the world;

Salary gaps between
omen and men:
The lowest in the world,
(although not non-existent)

Women : Lots of
opportunities to rise to positions of leadership.
These economies have made it possible for parents
to combine
work and family

social insurance

resulting in:

high female employment
shared participation in childcare
better work-life balance for both women and men
The Nordic countries were also early starters in
iding women with the right to vote
Finland in 1906
Norway in 1913,
Sweden in 1919,
Iceland and Denmark in 1915,

Iceland, Finland and Norway are part of the top 10
countries on the years with Female head of state indicator.
highest percentage of women professors

in the Nordic region
Ethnic groups:
298,618 (93.44%) Icelandic
9,049 (2.83%)
11,908 (3.73%) others
Left–right multi-party system
1983 :
The first country in the world to have a political party formed and led entirely by women
1980 :
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir : The world's first directly
elected female head of state.

2009 :
The first country with an openly gay head of government : Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir (prime minister)
Until the 20th century, Iceland was among the
countries in Western Europe. Currently, it remains one of the most developed countries in the world
liberation of women
through their participation in the labour market : A key explanation for the
rapid economic development
in Iceland
in the second half of the 20th century
Icelandic legislation guarantees equal pay for equal work
Gender equality is a top priority for Iceland’s government.

Pay gaps vary between
17 %
in Iceland.
Ministry of Education, Science and Culture:

“ A fundamental principle of the Icelandic educational system is that everyone should have equal opportunities to acquire an education, irrespective of
, economic status, residential location, religion, possible handicap, and cultural or social background. "
Mostly - public sector
Very few - private schools
Total : 99%
Male : 99%
Female: 99%
Headmasters of pre-primary institutions: % 96 4
Headmasters of compulsory schools: % 58 42
Principals of upper secondary schools: % 37 63
Presidents of tertiary level schools: % 22 78
Women / Men
Icelanders have
freedom of religion
under the constitution of Iceland.
Iceland is a very
secular country
Religious attendance is relatively low
One of the
top 10 atheist

populations in the world
Women hold

of seats in the parliament.
Population: 5,136,700

Women hold

of seats in the parliament.
Population: 5,457,429
Parliamentary democracy
female employment rate is high
Gender segregation between male-dominated professions and female-dominated professions is higher than in the US
1907 :
The first parliament had
19 female
grew to

The 13 of 19 women elected to Parliament in 1907
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland elects
First Woman Bishop

33% "believe there is a God" (In 2005, the figure was 41%)

42% "believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" (In 2005, the figure was 41%)

22% "do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force" (In 2005, the figure was 16%)

- - -
28-60% of Finns are agnostics, atheists, or non-believers.

Total 100%
Male 100%
Female 100%
good teachers
strict curricula
small class sizes
One of the most competitive market economies in the world

Modern debate on equality between women and men began in the
Traditional gender roles were questioned
*Women and men should have equal roles in looking after the family,
have a right to gainful employment
be able to have an influence in society on an equal basis*
Gender equality policies:
The Committee on the Status of Women published a reform programme in 1970,
The Council for Equality was founded in 1972 to promote the implementation of
the reforms.
The percentage of


in Parliament:

rising steadily...



Tarja Halonen
- The first female Prime Minister
- First female President
Successful in combining:
women’s high employment + high birth rate.

A system of children’s daycare and family life
allows for both parents or the only parent to work.
Finland has topped the list of countries where mothers enjoy the best conditions in the world.
maternal health
child mortality
working income
political status.
One in 12,200 pregnant women died from maternal causes
Women in DR Congo were likely to be educated for 8.5 years,

compared with 17 years in Finland.
One in 345 children will die before their fifth birthday
2014 rankings
Save the Children State of the World's Mothers report
2014 rankings
In a recent report from the World Economic Forum, Norway ranks as the
third most gender equal country in the world
Number one in
women’s economic participation
as well as
Half of the newly appointed Cabinet in Norway, including Prime Minister Erna Solberg, are women.
Parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy
In 2003 : The first country ....
40 % quota of women on boards

In 2008:
The share of women
on boards has risen
7 %
Norway became one of the first countries in the world to have a female Prime Minister, when
Gro Harlem Brundtland
was elected in
Norway has been among the top three countries every year since the Global Gender Gap Report first was published in 2006
This years’ Global Gender Gap Report:
All of the Nordic countries are among top eight.
"Women of Norway Vote!", New York, 1913.
Norway's first female Bishop:

Rosemarie Køhn

The tradition of
early marriage
in rural areas hinders girls’ schooling
Parents are
unwilling to send girls to mixed gender schools
limited number
of schools
Employment opportunities
Low quality of education
Male teachers’
conservative attitudes
towards girls
The distance from schools in rural areas
Lack of books and teaching materials and parents’
financial constraints
Most women work in unpaid jobs
Out of 301 members of Yemen’s parliament:
One woman
working in the fields of agriculture and other associated activities.
Religious groups opposed a minimum marriage age law
Islamic society
99% Muslims,
70% Shafi'i order of Sunni Islam
30% Zaydi sect of Shi'a Islam.

3,000 Christians,
1,500 Jews
Tiny minority of Hindus.

million children:
Out of school at the primary level

58% are female
(UNESCO, Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011)
Educational opportunities for girls are limited, mainly due to cultural traditions. Fewer girls enroll in secondary school than boys
lack of classrooms,
teaching material
teachers' qualifications
Women are not allowed to witness the rite.
Rather than encouraging girls to participate in the larger society, they stress
household responsibilities
and deference to male authority.
Women say they seldom have the opportunity to listen to the radio because their husbands control what is listened to and will take the radio with them when they leave the house.
Adolescent pregnancy is also common in Chad, with 193 births per 1000 women aged 15-19
Interdisciplinary Women's Studies Group, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan
exists since
first reports concerning situation of Polish women in the 90's have been published in foreign periodicals.
semi-open educational activities.
Women’s Studies Centre
University of Lodz
Was founded by prof. Elżbieta H. Oleksy at the University of Łódź in

The first academic institution of this type in Poland
The oldest women’s/gender studies
centre in Central and Eastern Europe.
Gender Studies
Uniwersytet Warszawski, Warsaw
The Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Resocialisation of the University of Warsaw :
Post-graduate courses in Gender Studies
International Women's Day
in Warsaw
Nationalists march against women's rights in Gdansk, Poland - 2014
MANIFA: an annual demonstration organised in honor of International Women's Day in Warsaw since 2000
The slogan
this year was:
"Independance for Polish woman"
Julie Land, wrote her master thesis at Jagiellonian University on feminism in Poland.
"The fact that a few women make it to the top doesn't mean it's better for the rest of woman.
Women still statistically make less money and are poorer"
First openly declared gay Polish parliamnet member Robert Biedron takes part in the Manifa.
"The national idea still lives and will live until the death of the last Polish man"
'Women Yes - feminists - No'
That is the day when women and supporters take to the streets of Polish cities to share their views on women’s rights.
A number of protests related to women’s rights, equality and discrimination called ‘Manifa’ took place in several major cities in Poland.
Women-men equality and peace are linked
A number of studies have found a strong correlation between levels of conflict and inequality
Equality and peace are closely linked:
Peace is vital to promote women and men equality, while inequality can also undermine peace and drive conflict and violence.
Seats held by men in national parliament
Seats held by
in national parliament
Women in Parliament (in %)
1918 :
Right to vote and run for office in.

From 1980 to 1985 :
Women attained their highest numbers in Sejm (Poland's Parliament).

After the 2005
: Women’s representation dropped.

The number of women in the Senate went from
23 to 13

Domestic violence: serious and widespread problem

Women from all socioeconomic backgrounds, at all stages of life.

Polish law recognizes domestic violence as a criminal offense, but the legal
system does not treat it seriously
Violence against women isn't receiving enough attention in most European countries. Instead, it is ignored
“In your marriage, who is the boss?”
“For us it is the woman who is boss. The woman has all the privileges; she owns everything. Men, they own nothing.”
Hunter-gatherer societies
The f
emale life-giving principle
was considered
and a great
Reflection: Human life is finite
This resulted in the development of the primitive religious beliefs
The importance of fertility

Mosuo nationality must stand on fat pork as part of their coming-of-age ritual
The individuals take their clan titles from their mothers.
All children, as soon as they are born, belong to their mother’s Ma’Chong, which means "motherhood".
Women traditionally occupy position of high status.
"If it's a
, there will be
great cheers
from the family outside.
If it's a
, you will hear them mutter politely that,
'Whatever God gives us is quite all right.'
Nouns in the language:
When something becomes useful, its gender becomes female.
Civil system in which one inherits property through the matriline
(power passes from mother to daughter)
Global Gender Gap Index

In which society
you would like to live in ?
(South Bougainville)
BRIBRI (Costa Rica)
1915 :
Icelandic women were allowed to vote.

1922 :
The first woman was elected to the parliament
1975 :
Legislation on gender equality was passed
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland
ordains its
first female Bishop
Policy: Fight the
gender pay gap
One in 10 people publish a book.
For five thousand years or more, the gynocratic age had flowered in peace and productivity.
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