Women empowerment - The Plaid Zebra & Jessica Beuker - be artist be art

Mädchenland (Kingdom of Girls) – by Jessica Beuker & The Plaid Zebra

Located in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, and known as ‘God’s own garden’, sits one of the most pristine villages in Asia – Mawlynnong Village. The village is home to the Khasi people, who continue to live life much differently than the western world by carrying on the matrilineal tradition.

Women empowerment - The Plaid Zebra & Jessica Beuker - be artist be art
Yasmin holds a rooster. She loves to catch and play with it after dawn.

The Asian village where women hold the power – by Jessica BeukerThe Plaid Zebra

 

 

This means that the youngest daughter inherits, children take their mother’s surname and, once married, men move into their mother-in-law’s house. According to The Guardian, anthropologist Valentina Pakyntein notes that the matrilineal system goes back to a time when Khasis had several partners and it was hard to determine the paternity of children.

 

 

 

 

 

Of course the matrilineal system should not be directly correlated with matriarchy. Khasi women don’t hold any political positions of power. All government ministers are men and very few women actually sit on village councils. Economic power however, sits in the hands of women. Succession, money and property are passed down from mother to daughter.

Women empowerment - The Plaid Zebra & Jessica Beuker - be artist be art
Yasmin with mug. No house in Mawlynnong has running water. Those urns are used to carry the water from the dwells and to keep it fresh.

But still, this village operates much differently than many other villages in India. Girls are expected to go to school until they are teens, although some move to the state capital at age 11 or 12 for further education, according to National Geographic. After that they attend college or return home to take care of their parents. Women can marry whoever they choose, and many women choose to stay single – an option that is not accepted in most places across the country. There is also no stigma surrounding divorce; couples don’t feel pressure to stay together if unhappy.

Women empowerment - The Plaid Zebra & Jessica Beuker - be artist be art
Steam

In order to learn more about their lives, Berlin-based photographer, Karolin Klüppel spent ten months, spanning over more than two years, living with different Khasi families.

Women empowerment - The Plaid Zebra & Jessica Beuker - be artist be art
Wanda at the stairs to the treehouse. The treehouse is a public viewpoint for tourists in Mawlynnong. Because Mawlynnong is considered the cleanest village in Asia, it attracts many indian tourists. Two families built this treehouse and charge 20 rupees for a look. From the top you can see Bangladesh. Every child in Mawlynnong loves the view.

Klüppel told National Geographic she was struck by the respect that Khasi men have for women. The culture is much different from many places in the world, and questions the rigid systems that so many of us are used to.

The Asian village where women hold the power – by Jessica BeukerThe Plaid Zebra

 

 

 

The Asian village where women hold the power – by Jessica BeukerThe Plaid Zebra

 

 

 

The plaid Zebra - be artist be art

 

 

 

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