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Being head of the family is actually good for your health, a new study has revealed.
Researchers who studied a matriarchal society in southwest China found women in the region to have lower blood pressure and lower levels of inflammatory proteins (which can be linked to conditions such as heart disease and diabetes) than similar villages in which the men are in charge.
Women in the matrilineal Mosuo culture - known as the 'kingdom of women' - not only control the finances and have as many partners as they like, but they also inherit the property and grandmothers are considered head of the household.
And according to the study - conducted by Siobhán Mattison of the department of anthropology at the University of New Mexico - the arrangement does a lot of good.
The study looked at women in two dozen Mosuo villages - half from the matrilineal Mosuo culture and half from the patrilineal culture, in which men are the head of the household.
Blood samples were taken and analysed from nearly 400 women, with researchers looking at blood pressure as well as the presence of the C-reactive protein, which is a sign of inflammation.
In the patrilineal villages, eight per cent of women showed chronic inflammation, meanwhile in the matrilineal villages, the number halved. Some 26 per cent had high blood pressure, in contrast to 33 per cent in the male dominated areas.
"Chronic disease are not only ameliorated but reversed in matriliny compared with patriliny," the researchers wrote.
"In patrilineal kinship systems - where resources are preferentially passed via the male line - women may be disadvantaged by lower social status and limited control over resources, compromising their health.
"In matrilineal systems - where resources are preferentially passed through the female line - women may experience better health because they have greater control over resources and more kin support."
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