Where Women Rule

Packs of women crowd the narrow streets -- men get out of their way.

The small city of Lijang in SW China is famous for three things: the monumental Jade Dragon Snow Mountains bordering Tibet; the Naxi minority people of the region; and the matriarchal society where women call the shots. Women of Lijang rule the family, and run the market stalls in town, while men care for the children and do the grunt work.

Women run the business, men follow orders.

It was very refreshing to see women of a developing country free from the usual bonds of male dominance. At times it was also rather humorous. One day in the market I saw a man and his wife get into a rip-roaring shouting match. The woman pulled off her shoe and began whacking the hapless man on the head. He did nothing to defend himself and finally submitted to the wishes of his wife. The other Chinese in the market paid more attention to me laughing my head off, than to the fight itself.

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