Photojournalism: Meghalaya; Where Women Rule
In the small hilly Indian state of Meghalaya, India, a country where women usually cry out for equality and respect, a matrilineal system operates. In the two major tribes of Meghalaya, Khasis and Jaintias, children take the mother's surname and daughters inherit the family property. Women dress how they please, walk freely in the the streets without fear of harassment, and drink alcohol in bars. Most businesses are run by women. Arranged marriage has never been practiced and wives have always divorced freely as they hold the family heritage, thus have financial independence.
In a country with a high rate of female feticide, the matrilineal society of Meghalaya is the one and only place in India where the birth of a baby girl is greeted with happiness.