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A Village Where Women Have All the Say

In the village called Mulitun located deep in the mountains in Leye County, Guangxi, men take chare of domestic work, playing the role of housewives, while their women work in the fields and handle everything outside the house.
Here, women villagers smoke, drink and take part in various social activities. On major ceremonial occasions, the husbands are present only for accompanying their wives. In the house, of course, it is the woman who has the decision power.

Specialists said the existing lifestyle of a matriarchate clan is very rare today, especially among people of the Han ethnic group.

Mulitun, which has 50 villagers in 13 families, is situated beside the famous Tiankeng (Heavenly Pit), a huge natural pit where large groups of karst dolines have been found, in Leye County. All the families are of the Han ethnic group.

According to some old villagers, their ancestors moved here from Jiangxi Province in eastern China. It has been the custom since their ancestors' time that women play the leading role in the family. Even women from other villages followed the local custom as soon as they are married to this village. The wife is not only put in charge of the family's finance, but has to do farm work and go to the market for shopping as well. Amazingly, all the couples in the village get along well with each other. What's more interesting is when the family has visitors, the hostess would order her husband and kids to do housework while she herself accompanying the guests in singing, drinking, smoking and even playing finger-guessing games.

A young villager said, "This is the traditional way of living, since women are more capable than men. When they say something, they are always right." Nowadays, though villagers can watch TV at home, there is only one road linking the village to the outside world. This might be the reason why the matriarch clan could have survived.

Specialists from the Tourism Study Institute of the Guangxi Normal University investigated the daily habits and marriage customs of the villagers and concluded that a matriarchate village like Mulitun is of great importance to sociology researches and tourism.

(China.org.cn by Chen Lin May 4, 2004)

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