In the name of the mother

Nadia Ferroukhi

I wanted to see these societies for myself,
to record what I learned from them:
it’s a colourful journey, an open door
onto this unusual world where women
are the mainstay, the backbone.“

Nadia Ferroukhi

A right to education, a salary, independence, political representation, contraception: these are some of the rights that women have fought for and won since the 17th century, after bitter struggles against the many patriarchal societies that dominate the world.

But there are other societies, just a few, that function differently. Societies where certain key powers, like the management of wealth, the organisation of ceremonies and important decisions about families or the community…are in the hands of women. Societies which have maintained their unique ways despite the patriarchal environment that surrounds them, without, however, representing the reverse, that is to say the domination of women over men.

What makes these communities unique is that women form the backbone of society and that their central, feminine role is respected for what it is. This is certainly because they understand that, above all, their society relies on a fair and just balance, a cyclical understanding of life that reflects the natural world of which they are as much a part as men.

There is one constant among all the groups that photographer Nadia Ferroukhi has encountered since 2007, during long years of work in Kenya, India, Algeria, China and Mexico: in exercising their power, the women take great care to maintain this fair balance, integrating men without ever dominating them.

Something to think about for those who insist that the patriarchy, or more generally the hegemonic power of one sex over the other, is the only way of living together.

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