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.

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November 5, 2012 11:00 AM
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Rice Farmer

Li Liang, 30

Liang, a mother of three from the rural Guangxi province, lives a hard life during harvest season, working in the fields from midday until 4 a.m., when she and her husband take their crop to market to sell. Then they have just a few hours of sleep before starting the cycle again. Until a few years ago, rural Chinese women had one of the world's highest suicide rates, often ending their lives by drinking pesticide. Suicides have fallen recently due to growing numbers of rural women migrating to cities for work.