15 in a Billion

With 1.4 billion citizens, mainland China is the world's most populous country—and home to one in five women on our planet, from rice farmers to multimillionaires. Photographer Kate Peters and writer Abigail Haworth capture a portrait of a nation in dramatic flux through 15 women.

By Abigail Haworth

November 5, 2012 11:00 AM
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Manual Laborer

Hongyan Chen, 39

Mother-of-two Chen ekes out a living in Shenzhen, China's premier manufacturing city in the south, recycling the tons of garbage produced by rapid development. She earns 20 cents for a kilo of plastic bottles and $1 for every 100 paper sacks. It's dirty, exhausting work, but she makes just enough to survive, she says. It's a legacy of communism that Chinese women pitch in with manual labor as much as, if not more than, men.

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