Previously in China, all land was controlled by the communes. Over the past twenty years, with the break up of the communes, new land tenure arrangements have given greater control over land to individual households. This essay argues that recent transfers in land tenure between households have caused women to lose rights and decision making power over land, as well as possibilities to benefit from land. Men's migration to cities has caused a 'feminisation' of agriculture which fuels a market for tenure transfer. In Zhejiang province, the rights of 156,280 rural women were infringed, among which more than 97,000 lost rights to land tenure, and more than 71,000 retained land tenure but their rights to share the benefits of the land were infringed upon.
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BRIDGE is a research and information programme located within IDS Knowledge Services. We are part of a global movement whose vision is a world where gender equality, dignity and social justice prevail, where poverty is eliminated and where human rights – including women’s rights - are realised.