Cultures & Traditions

Asante Matrilineal Society

Asante women have a strong leadership role rooted in the passage of ruling power through the female line. Every Asante individual belongs to their mother’s clan; therefore fathers have more to do with their sister’s children than with their own.

A more specific aspect of women’s power exists in the office of the queen mother. The position’s title is misleading because any female member of the ruling clan is eligible. (It is often the sister, cousin, aunt, or niece of the chief or king). She and her male counterpart are held accountable for the well-being of their community. The queen mother provides political counsel, oversees domestic affairs, and has primary authority for the selection of a new ruler. Like the chief or king, the queen mother communicates her power and prestige through her elaborate golden regalia and woven garments.

Excerpt from

  • Roslyn Walker, The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, Label text, 2018.