In an age when all we hear about are the extreme measures being brought against women in the Muslim world, the Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra is a complete breath of fresh air.
The society dispels all prejudice you normally associate with Islam, so much so that I feel we can all learn from their progressive and tolerant attitude. Women are not only free to receive a good education, but can also work in whichever job they please. They are traditional family leaders, play joint roles alongside the men within the community and take charge of business and finance.
Join us on a quest that delves into the structure of family and social hierarchy to find a real-life matriarchy!
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Location: West Sumatra, Indonesia.
Population: 6 million (4.2 million in West Sumatra; 1.8 million elsewhere in Indonesian and abroad).
Religion: 99% Sunni Muslims, 1% others.
Status of the group: West Sumatra province has regional autonomy and uses local self-governing units called Nagari, administered by Minang Adat (local customary law, which includes the matrilineal system).
- Inheritance goes to daughters – sons get nothing.
- Children take the mother’s clan name.
- The man moves to the wife’s home.
- The husband often works away leaving the wife in charge of the house and family.
- Women receive a good education and often find work in professional careers.
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