Matrilineal Communities, Patriarchal Realities: A Feminist Nirvana uncovered

This is a feminist economist analysis of female headed households in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province. The author challenges the dominant discourses that Sri Lankan women have achieved a favorable position in society compared to many women living elsewhere because they have achieved high scores in human development indices and other global indices as well as the fact that Sri Lankan women can own and inherit property through matrilineal and bilateral inheritance patterns. The author takes the reader inside hundreds of households run by women in the Eastern Province to see the extent to which their lived realities reflect the scores. Even with high levels of literacy, free education access to healthcare and matrilineal practices, women in the Eastern province live within a larger social world and are constantly negotiating patriarchal structures and ideologies about women, work and respectability.

Ruwanpura, Kanchana
Publisher and location: 
University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor