The Mosuo are an ethnic group living in the province of Yunan near Tibet. My parents visited them on their last trip to China.
Mum described the matriarchal society. ‘The women are the bosses. They run the village, the families and businesses. When a Mosuo woman sees a man she likes, she can point to him and say, ‘Come here’ and they will go to her bedroom. To show that there she has a man in her room, the man’s hat is hung on a hook near the door. When the woman is tired of him, she can tell him to leave. He takes his hat with him and the hook hook by the door is empty again.’
I listened, astonished. ‘Mum, I don’t know if many men would mind that…’
Mum shrugged. ‘Well, if the woman gets pregnant, it is the responsibility of her brother to raise the child. That is the burden of the men, to look after the children of their sisters.’
You can read more about the Mosuo here.