These Latin American Matriarchal Societies Might Make You Want To Pack Your Bags And Head South ASAP

credit: Twitter / @WorldHabitat

Who run the world? Girls, at least in these five societies across Latin America.

From indigenous tribes with long histories of female leadership to enclaves that were created to be safe havens for women in areas with high rates of gender-based violence, these matriarchies will show you what brown women governorship looks like (hint: pretty effin’ poppin’).

1. Nashira

Nashira is a matriarchal village in the southwestern part of Colombia that is run by women and exists to support women. In many ways, it’s a safe haven for colombianas living in nearby towns, where violence against women is at extreme highs. Nashira, which means “Love Song” in the native language, was founded in 2003 by Angela Cuevas de Dolmetsch. Her hope was to create a society that provides free housing to vulnerable women. Currently, there are more than 80 families, including men and boys, who live in Nashira, but women are responsible for all key decisions, including who gets to reside in the community. An all-female board looks over applications from women who seek refuge at Nashira.

2. Bribri

In the Limón province of Costa Rica, the Bribri, a small indigenous group living on a reserve in the Talamanca canton, are women-led. This society of 13,000 people is organized into clans that are made up of extended families. With women as the head of the households, and by extension the clans, they’re the only ones who are able to inherit land. They’re also the breadwinners. Much of the tribe’s earnings are made from the selling of bananas and cacao beans to large companies, but only women are allowed to turn dried cacao beans into the fine chocolate drink people love so much.

3. Noiva do Cordeiro

In Southeast Brazil lies a tiny rural town by the name of Noiva do Cordeiro. Made up of about 300 people, here, mujeres run everything — from politics, to farming to religion. The residents wouldn’t change the system even if they could, saying, “Our town is prettier, more organized and far more harmonious than if men were in charge.” It’s been a matriarchy since 1891, when its founder Maria Senhorinha de Lima was labeled an adulterer for fleeing a relationship with a man she didn’t want to mary and was forced out of her town. Shunned by the church and her community, she joined other women who had been shamed for their alleged loose morals and established Noiva de Cordeiro. Many of the women are married to men, but they work in factories in a nearby city that often keeps them away from home.

4. Ciudad De Las Mujeres

In Turbaco, a northern city in Colombia, is Ciudad De Las Mujeres, another refuge society for women. Here, however, the residents are often women who were displaced, victims of sexual violence or who lost a loved one in the country’s years-long conflict. The Ciudad De Las Mujeres was founded in 1999 by attorney Patricia Guerrero, and is today home to almost 500 people. All of the homes, schools and shops were built by women, for women.

5. Kuna

Considered the “last tribe of the Caribbean,” the Kuna are an indigenous people living in the San Blas islands of Panama. Here, women rule and serve as the breadwinners. Many sell colorful clothes with traditional Mola designs to tourists as a source of income. Men work in agriculture, fishing and the coconut trade, but have to earn their living on the mainland. Women’s attire is so beloved in the tribe of about 50,000 people that it’s not uncommon to see men dressed in girls’ garbs, shawls and beaded jewelry.

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Let us know of any other matriarchal societies you’re familiar with in the comments!