Powerful men are usually political figures , religious leaders , academics and business leaders. Patriarchy is when all decisions and power solely rests with the male figurehead in a family, society, institution or nation. Patriarchs do find solace in a type of matriarchal behaviour that enables and perpetuates their behaviour . Matriarchs like patriarchs are powerful women who have just about as much power as their male counterparts, with that power solely resting on their shoulders. Commonly exhibited by mammals matriarchy in human beings usually leads to a conducive environment for patriarchal tendencies to flourish as they play the role of making sure everyone tows the line of the important male figure head. The fact that these matriachs are women should not fool one to assume that they stand in the stead of young people and all women. Most of the Matriarchs are there to entrench the power and authority of those already holding it-men.
Society and institutions have a weakness of trusting matriarchs with the responsibility of shielding younger women from systematic and structural damage though most of the concern of these matriarchs is not the vulnerability of the young. The focus is rather how the matriarch can entrench more power for the patriarchy thus creating a more enabling environment. It is difficult for the women movement to gain traction on issues that women face because the bulk of those who are in offices of power are not fighting for women but rather the gravy train they benefit from led by patriarchs. Everything rolls back to the strong male system. The matriarchs will help the women folk as long as it does not impinge on the status quo of their patriachial superiors. They will support legislation and policies as long as those policies do not affect the wealth of the patriarchial trough they feed from. They will never speak out against real injustices that affects the power base they lean on.
The destruction of the patriarchs is the congruent destruction of the matriarchs hence they will fight tooth and nail to ensure the systems and structures that maintain the status quo is not questioned or hampered. This is the reason why abuse in religious and political settings of young girls and women can continue under the very watchful eye of matriarchs who ensure that rules and regulations are maintained and those seen as troublemakers are rooted out quickly before they disturb the flow of things. Most situations do not need to reach the ears of the father head as the mother head quickly deals with the situation ensuring the patriach only handles the hot cases.
It is folly for our young women to cry to most of the women in power today because a lot who occupy these officers are enablers of patriarchal behaviour. We can debate as a young generation on the women’s quota in business, politics and religious fields but if these quotas are occupied by enablers of patriarchy then we can never have true female representation in our institutions. Our matriachial figures should help younger women along in order to occupy positions of true power without throwing them to the wolves. Spaces by women in diverse institutions should not be occupied on proximity to patriarchal power. Most women who hold offices that count for something in our African continent have a proximity to patriarchs by lineage , marriage or relationship. It is important for more vibrant open minded women to occupy spaces not because of pandering to patriarchs or enabling patriarchs but based on merit and ability. We are apt to argue for more spaces for our women folk but if these spaces are occupied by patriarch enablers then the real emancipation of women has not begun and will just be a dream.
The women empowerment movement will not flourish by having power centered on matriarchal figures or patriarchial figures but on opportunities and resources being shared equally and equitably across the line so that both women and men can come to the decision making table without one holding sway over the other. Young people can cry to have positions of leadership but if there are pawns for both matriarchs and patriarchs then the road for both young women and men will be that harder. When a small group of elite women can hold sway of the menfolk it is not a form of power we should aspire too but rather an environment of mutual respect and justice should be cultivated by all so that all can truly access equitable resources and spaces.