Women may hold up half the sky in China, but when it comes to land, it’s a totally different matter. As the country’s arable land shrinks and rural property values surge, women are being robbed of their rights by the village committees who allocate and manage land.
Women are suffering from double discrimination at the hands of these committees that are elected by local residents. In many places, women who marry outsiders have their claim to land in their birthplace revoked, even when the land certificates still bear their names. Those who move to their husband's villages are often refused recognition and the right to any claim on their spouse's land. “A married daughter is like spilled water,” said Ma Fengling, who has waged a court battle since 2014 to have her land rights reinstated. “This is such a common and deeply rooted view that they would never give anything to us married women, who are simply kicked out.”