A coal rich region, which the Garo are exploiting. But all with the permission of the women, who traditionally own the land.

An industrious Garo Lady, who is successfully running her own construction materials company.


Location: Garo Hills, Meghalaya State, Northeast India.

Population: 700,000 in Meghalaya (some also live in Bangladesh and neighbouring Indian states).

Religion: 90% Christians, 5% original animist faith Songsarek, 5% Hindus, some Muslims and others.

Language: Garsi (language of Tibetan-Burmese origin), Hindi and English.

Matriarchal features

  • Children belong to the mother and take her clan name (matrilineal name).
  • The most capable daughter inherits family property (matrilineal inheritance).
  • If the family has only sons, they will adopt a suitable heiress.
  • Partnerships are traditionally initiated by women.
  • A man moves into his wife’s family after marriage (matrifocal residence).