I was just wondering , if the power balance was tipped in womens favour, how society would define masculine roles iyswim? Would it be a fairer society generally, or would it still have equality problems? And if it has ever happened, what exactly were those problems?
The Nair community in Kerala is Matrilineal (not Matriarchial) i.e. the inheritane is via the woman not the man. However, since control of wealth confers power, the power balance between the genders is more or less balanced in many ways.
I suspect (but don't know) that patriarchies got established just because men on the whole are bigger, stronger and could make it happen, iyswim. The alpha male types would have just imposed their will on everyone by throwing their weight around.
Lenin - to go back to your point about self-sufficiency - I don't think that this is necessarily a product of a matriarchal society. I know of communities that were largely self-sufficient, growing their own food, using local resources, etc, before the modern world (and electricity!) caught up with them. But they were not matriarchal communities, and in fact the one I have the most personal knowledge of was heavily patriarchal, and continues to be.
Chickens - I think that men didn't suddenly think "Hey, why don't we oppress women!", it all happened gradually, bit by bit, until one thing lead to another and patriarchy was established. And societies are all inter-linked, neighbouring communities were affected by each other, so that a heavy patriarchy in one community would have affected the non-patriarchal neighbouring group, with a drip-drip effect until patriarchy was established there too. (Obviously, this is just my theory, I can't provide any links or proof!)