Women Cultures

A collection of cultures from around the world where women play a dominant role in the family and/or society. This is a continuation of our Where Women Rule project.

  • In March/April 2024, we will be visiting the Ashanti matrilineal culture of Central South Ghana…

Terms used to describe cultures where women play a major role.

Matrilineal system: This is a collective term describing a social system that has either or both of the following: matrilineal name, matrilineal inheritance.

Matrilineal name: The surname or clan name is passed from mother to her children. The opposite is the patrilineal system where children receive the father’s name.

Matrilineal inheritance: The family or ancestral property is predominantly passed from mother to daughter. The opposite is patrilineal inheritance from father to son.

Matrifocal family: The woman is the head of the household and children, and often manages the family purse. The husband plays a lesser role within the family.

Matrilocal residence: When a couple is married, the man has to move to the wife’s family home.