The Failure of Patriarchy

A vision for a just society and how to achieve it.

Dr Finn Mackay specialises in feminist activism at the University of Bristol’s School for Policy Studies. In 2004 she founded the London Feminist Network, one of the largest grassroots feminist activist organisations in the country. Here, Mackay discusses gender equality, the need to radically rethink society and why feminism doesn’t simply mean replacing a patriarchal society with a matriarchal one.


What would a matriarchal society look like? How would it be different from the way we live now?

If we take the term 'matriarchy' to mean a mirror image of patriarchy, but with women in charge instead of men then I don't think society would necessarily be very different from the one we are in now. The whole point of feminism is not to retain the status-quo, and change the leadership; the point of feminism is to radically alter the status-quo and build a new society altogether, one that is better for women, men, children and young people, non-h

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RossMilburn 27 November 2015

I heartily endorse Dr. Mackay’s call for a just society where one’s sex does not confer status or privilege. Women worldwide tend to suffer greatly due to both traditions and laws that prevent them living, and competing, as equals of men, and we all suffer through the militarism of governments that are dominated by men. But why on earth does Dr. Mackay call herself a “socialist”, which implies enforced collectivization by a ruling elite? Ruling elites are parasites, and, whatever their sexual composition, they are likely to exploit us. In contrast, during the Palaeolithic, humans evolved in small, integrated communities in which the sexes were equal (but different, due to some sexual specialization). All individuals were autonomous, and leaders were not permitted any power to coerce them. “Government” was by consensus of all adults. Even children were autonomous, and allowed to learn by trial and error. If we recreate such a society it will meet Dr. Mackay’s dreams much better than socialism, which imposes just one more ruling class on us.