Etymologically, it is from Latin māter (genitive mātris), "mother" and Greek ἄρχειν arkhein, "to rule".The term was subsequently borrowed by other social sciences and humanities and its meaning was widened in order to describe and define particular female-dominated and female-centered aspects of cultural and social life..
as a shorthand description for any society in which women's power is equal or superior to men's and in which the culture centers around values and life events described as 'feminine.'" With respect to a prehistoric matriarchal Golden Age, according to Barbara Epstein, "matriarchy ...
means a social system organized around matriliny and goddess worship in which women have positions of power." According to Adler, "a number of feminists note that few definitions of the word [matriarchy], despite its literal meaning, include any concept of power, and they suggest that centuries of oppression have made it impossible for women to conceive of themselves with such power." When we hear the word "matriarchy", we are conditioned to a number of responses: that matriarchy refers to the past and that matriarchies have never existed; that matriarchy is a hopeless fantasy of female domination, of mothers dominating children, of women being cruel to men.
Possible matriarchies in Burma are, according to Jorgen Bisch, the Padaungs The Mosuo themselves often use this description and they believe it increases interest in their culture and thus attracts tourism.
The term matrilineal is sometimes used, and, while more accurate, still doesn't reflect the full complexity of their social organization.
While these words all share that principal meaning, they differ a little in their additional meanings, so that gynecocracy also means 'women's social supremacy', None of these definitions are limited to mothers.
Some question whether a queen ruling without a king is sufficient to constitute female government, given the amount of participation of other men in most such governments. "By the end of [Queen] Elizabeth's reign, gynecocracy was a fait accompli", according to historian Paula Louise Scalingi.
In their works, Johann Jakob Bachofen and Lewis Morgan used such terms and expressions as mother-right, female rule, gyneocracy, and female authority.
All these terms meant the same: the rule by females (mother or wife).
Accordingly, these concepts do not represent matriarchy as 'power of women over men'.
In addition, some authors depart from the premise of a mother-child dyad as the core of a human group where the grandmother was the central ancestor with her children and grandchildren clustered around her in an extended family.
label their notion of a "woman-centered" society surrounding Mother Goddess worship during prehistory (in Paleolithic and Neolithic Europe) and in ancient civilizations by using the term matristic rather than matriarchal.