* Dragon Riders Of Pern: The ruling females have a species trait which makes them less effective warriors (not a gender trait), take time off because they're fertile (to breed, presumably), and hand over their authority to their mates during whatever Threadfall is. It's not particularly feminist, but I'm not sure how any of this means it can't be matriarchy. The point about humans is a bit hazy; might need some more information.
Pern is a bad example: it isn't a Matriarchy even in name.
The Dragon and Dragon hierarchy includes Gold dragons, which are sometimes called "queens", and which do not breathe fire to fight Thread because eating the mineral that causes fire breathing also renders them sterile, and they're needed for breeding more dragons. So it's not that they can't
breathe fire, it's that the humans don't allow them to. The dragon hierarchy was artificially constructed and imposed from outside, by the humans.
On the human side it's still not a good example: Gold Riders are always women, yes, but they are not the rulers of the society, nor are they presented as such, except for one (Moreta), who is, within the books, often treated by other characters as "uppity" for taking an active role in non-weyr-related society. The titles reflect this: the male head of the Weyr is the "Weyrleader", the female leader is the "Weyrwoman". Given those names, which one would you presume to be the higher authority? The Weyrwoman is in charge of the day-to-day operation of the Weyrs, while the (always male) rider of the (usually) Bronze dragon that is the Gold's mate is the warleader of the Weyr.
edited 24th Dec '12 4:28:46 AM by Madrugada
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.