Meaning of Matriarchy

What is Matriarchy:

Matriarchy is called the type of society in which women have authority and leadership in various social, political, economic and family roles.

The word matriarchy derives from Latin master which means ʽmotherʼ and, from the Greek archein which means "to govern".

Matriarchy should not be associated as the opposite situation to patriarchy, since researchers have not yet found sufficient evidence to affirm that a matriarchal society has existed or exists in which the male figure is under female dominance.

Matriarchy is characterized by representing matrilineal or matrilocal tendencies, in which women have a certain preponderance of authority over men, in different matters of importance.

Matriarchy: matrilineage and matrilocality

Matriarchy is characterized by combining aspects of the social organizations imposed by matrilineage and matrilocality.


Matrilineage is a type of social organization that, from the anthropological and sociological perspective, the descent is established from the maternal line.

That is, the lineage system starts from the female figure, the children are identified from the mother and, the properties and inheritances are inherited by the woman. This type of organization still exists in various social groups.


For its part, matrilocality is known as those social organizations in which the woman has authority in domestic relations. Likewise, it is the husband who must join the wife's family and not the other way around.

Origin of the matriarchy

A large number of investigations have been carried out by specialists in order to establish the origin of matriarchy, many have agreed that this type of organization predates patriarchy and corresponds to a primitive social order established, specifically, in culture western.

This hypothesis arises from data collected from ancient rites and myths, in which the importance of the figure of the mother in society is highlighted, for example, Mother Earth or Mother Goddess as a source of life, to the that he was worshiped.

Matriarchy characteristics

The following are the main characteristics of the matriarchy.

  • Women have power and leadership in various political, social, family, economic, and religious roles.
  • Women can make important decisions and command others.
  • The female figure does not prevail over the male figure.
  • The main figure of the family is the woman.
  • It is presumed that it developed during prehistory.
  • The figure of the woman is revered for the possibility of giving life.
  • Women can have multiple partners.
  • The woman is the person in charge of managing food, work, money and space.

Matriarchy and patriarchy

Matriarchy is not the opposite of patriarchy, both are two different terms but they are associated, especially when it comes to power and leadership.

Patriarchy refers to the dominance and authority that the male figure has over a social organization, generating an imbalance of power and discrimination, especially towards women and children.

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