BASEBALL AND GENDER POWER IN PALAU. David Walter argues that baseball is the key to the government of Palau and that baseball has reversed the gender power relationships in Palau. Walter says: “Before the 20th century, Palau was a matriarchy. Women controlled most aspects of society, and men were limited to fishing, fighting, and handling village-to-village diplomacy.” Even after World War II, “women controlled all property, money, and hereditary titles in a village.”

Now “Palau’s baseball leagues [serve]as a kind of farm system for government service. Scores of congressmen, senators, diplomats, and heads of state have passed through Palau’s dugouts on their way to political power.” He quotes a high ranking woman: “Baseball empowered men like nothing before.”

And yet, Walter says that he has been told many times by Palauan women that “they still feel like they pull the strings.”

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