We live in a patriarchal society where nearly everything revolves around men. This is what we see in most aspects of society from politics to social organisations. However, certain societies are matriarchal such as the Bribri in Costa Rica and northern Panama.
For those who watched Black Panther, you must remember the all-women soldiers, the Dora Milaje. These powerful loyal women gave me so much life! They remind me of the fearless women soldiers from Dahomey (Benin), called the Mino or the Dahomey Amazons by some, who fought for and defended the palace, royalty and the country of Benin. Mino considered themselves stronger and braver than men.
In the 1850s, under the rule of King Gezo, the Mino fighting skills allowed the king to conquer the entire territory of Dahomey. These women were recruited from a variety of sources:
- Fleeing poverty
- Running away from marriage
- Seeking glory
- Fleeing slavery
Hotheaded daughters could also be enrolled by their fathers if they were considered more suited to fighting than motherhood.
After fighting bravely against the French, they were defeated and the Mino army vanished.
Although, the Mino died out, it’s interesting to see how women empowerment can be done at a high level (i.e. army). Their story is inspiring in the sense that they did not do what society expected them to do.