Gender and Rural Reforms in China: A Case Study of Population Control and Land Rights Policies in Northern Liaoning
Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this paper explores the gender dimensions of population control and land tenure policies in a rural village in Northeast China. Gender bias was explicit in the implementation of both policies in the village between 1980 and the mid-1990s. Since that time, explicit gender bias has been reduced and both policies have stressed market incentives more, reflecting China’s modernization goals and accession to the WTO. Yet the policies are not gender neutral in their implementation, effects, and interactions. Women remain the target of the eased population policy, and they are more likely to become ‘‘landless’’ at marriage. The policies work together to reinforce traditional and emerging forms of gender bias, though at times they offset each other. They impact women’s bargaining power within the home, status in the community, and social security. Together they provide a richer view of the gendered experience of living in the village.