The Matriarchs Of The Animal World


What I’ve written about in this article is something based on my viewpoint and I don’t intend to offend anyone by any means. This story just spreads my thoughts on how our society should be and how we can learn from those who’ve lived in more complex societies than us humans.

The concrete jungle we live in today has seen a fair share of good and bad for a long time, things like gender discrimination are one of them. In the past century, there was a constant struggle of law and order amongst both genders with men coming out on top and the society being considered patriarchal which caused lots of problems for the women in the society all along. But it’s changing now, even though there’s a tiny bit of skirmish amongst the older generation with baseless ideologies like women shouldn’t be out late at night, or telling them not to wear small clothes and silly opinions such as women aren’t meant to do the similar jobs as men do and that the society can’t be run by women, an ideology which is considered way foolish and people of each gender are tired of hearing this debate. But animals didn’t have such problems since the animal world has been famed more for being a matriarchal society. From blue whales to elephants they have been entirely reliant on a female to take care of and make decisions rather than males. Something we humans must learn from these beautiful, and mind-blowing animals. There are various types of animal groups that are less by a matriarch. They are:

  1. Elephants
An Elephant (courtesy of world wildlife fund)

Probably the most amazing and enormous land animals ever, elephants show a perplexing society that shows a high level of empathy towards their loved ones. The elephant herd isn’t lead by a male elephant (bull) but a female one (cow). The oldest female in the group is called the matriarch and it’s her job to take care of her herd and help them migrate whenever seasons pass or when they need to find new grounds for pasture and water during droughts prone season. But as humans are increasingly declining the opportunity for afforestation they will not be able to go to their traditional migratory paths as they used to go for centuries before colonialism.

A mother elephant with its calf (courtesy of iStock)

2. Killer Whale

A pod of killer whales (courtesy of national geographic)

These whales need no introduction so I’ll come straight to the point, the killer whale or orca is the apex predator of the ocean. These fantastic predators are seen in SeaWorld however, even their trainers aren’t safe from them. They too are lead by an older whale who teaches their pod about hunting methods, food resources and much more, forging them into deadly predators who hunt seals, sharks to the largest mammals on the planet the whales.

An Orca (courtesy of Hakai magazine)

3. Spotted Hyena

A female spotted hyena (courtesy of

One of the most complex and successful predators showing this kind of social interaction between genders is the spotted hyena. They make large communities with almost 80 individuals called clans. These clans are lead by a female matriarch as females are larger than males in size and weight. They use this to their advantage to keep control of their social hierarchical structure. Females tend to be harsh on males and there are cases of low ranking females trying to dominate high ranking males but will eventually co-dominate with the male. Cubs of the matriarch take the rank below their mother so when the matriarch passes away or moves away to another clan the female cub will become the next matriarch.

There are many more examples such as honeybees, ants and meerkats but there’s one thing that stands above the rest, they’ve lived like this for centuries without actually changing anything, and yet we humans speak such outdated ideologies on gender discrimination that should be extinct by now yet people talk and judge by. It’s time for the change if we learn something from the animals mentioned here, well we might be able to change our way of thinking and drive out such bad ideologies.

If you liked what I write feel free to share and like this story. I bring all kinds of amazing topics like this here all the time. Hope you enjoy reading this story and I hope you have a great day.



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Abhidyu Ajila

Abhidyu Ajila

A zoology student who talks animals, conservation, evolution and geography