Matrilineality: women are powerful than men


Basically the reason for the move to reserve 22 seats in parliament for women is because, since independence , they have very little or at times no representation in parliament. And I totally support this move not because women are women but because this gender in PNG has been marginalised and prejudiced long enough.

It is easy to understand why this has been the case. Many of our traditional customs do not recognise women as people who could potentially speak and act on behalf of a community. And further, despite the gains in technology and knowledge, the bulk of PNG’s population are ignorant multitudes who are illiterates living in rural areas and urban settlements and are not really aware of current trends.

Certain societies in PNG however, are matrilineal in nature. Wikipedia defines matrilineality as a societal system in which one belongs to one’s matriline or mother’s lineage, which can involve the inheritance of property and/or titles.

Notice ‘which can involve inheritance of property and/or titles’, interests me a great deal. This line in other words mean women in matrilineal societies are powerful than man. My ignorance however, of the inner workings of matrilineal societies’ leadership structure may lead me to err but traditionally women in matrilineal societies are the bosses of the land and anything that grows, flows, or sits on it. They make decisions pertaining to land issues and men usually stand by and watch unless they are called on to participate. In essence, women are leaders in matrilineal societies.

Men in patrilineal societies are voted into parliament because of the age old practice of recognising men only as leaders. Similarly, women in matrilineal societies should have been voted into parliament. The question is why has this not happened?

I believe matrilineal societies in PNG can lead the way by voting more women into parliament and thereby exposing to patrilineal societies the trend the modern world has taken. Don’t get me wrong; educated few in patrilineal societies are doing their bit to educate the vast ignorant populace but this will take time.

If we’re serious about recognising women as leaders, reserving 22 seats in parliament is not a noble way to start with; voting them into parliament is. Since matrilineal societies recognise women as leaders, it wouldn’t hurt to start with them.

Meanwhile, the Somare led government continues to be dazzled by its own growing size and power that this important issue is not seriously considered and fastracked. Let us hope the new Prime Minister will ensure this important legislation gets passed before 2012.


About febijefwhispers
I love reading and writing poetry!

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