Life in Inca society was highly structured. Men and women were divided into nine age categories that determined the tasks they had to perform for society. Depending on their age, women were responsible for doing certain tasks to help their village. When they were young, they helped their mother with domestic chores. Once they became adults, women performed several tasks that were useful to the community. In particular, they wove and spun clothes for everyone in the village. Women were important in Inca society because they bore children, and thus increased the population of the empire.

Virgins of the Sun

Some women were chosen from an early age to dedicate their lives to the Sun god. These women were called the Virgins of the Sun. They lived in the temples and served the priests. It was said that the Virgins of the Sun wore the most beautiful clothes in all the Inca Empire.

Author: Alexandre Lanoix


Patrilineal vs Patriarchal vs Power?

“Throughout the Andes, women occupied a distinct sphere from that of men, but not a subordinate one. For example, sources suggest that although the majority of Andeans living under Inca rule were patrilineal, or male-centred, in their succession preferences, power frequently landed in the hands of sisters and daughters of headmen. Literate Inca descendants described a world in which both sexes participated equally in complementary agricultural tasks, and also in contests against neighbouring clans. Women exempted from rotational labour duties handled local exchanges of food and craft goods. Whether or not they were allowed to accumulate property as a result of these exchanges remains unknown.”


Important concepts and big ideas:

[glossary slug=’spirituality’]
[glossary slug=’indigenousspirituality’]
[glossary slug=’economicactivities’]
[glossary slug=’powerstructure’]
[glossary slug=’patrilinealsociety’]

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