Matriarchal societies are basically egalitarian and are characterized by non-hierarchical social structures. Their economic values are based on balance and solidarity, private and political decisions are always made by consensus. Thus matriarchy is anything but the mere reversal of patriarchy. The matriarch, the head of the family, gives direction and advice. In doing so, it has no command, but rather enjoys a natural authority. For this role, she needs intelligence, leadership, integrative skills as well as economic, political, family and spiritual skills.
Photographer Maria Haas is particularly interested in unique cultures, peoples and societal structures. "In my research, I discovered that apparently there are a few remaining societies on the planet where matriarchal structures still prevail. Very intrigued by this, I decided to visit and document the people who live this uncommon form of society. Over the past three years I have traveled to China, India and Indonesia and have created several photo documentaries of matriarchal societies."