Governance, Gender and the Appropriation of Natural Resources: A Case Study of ‘Left-Behind’ Women’s Collective Action in China

Yanqiang Du, Neil Ravenscroft, Yan Wang, Pingyang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


China’s rapid urbanization has created large scale of population migration, resulting in many villages being dominated by “left-behind” women, and weak governance of those collectively owned resources. The situation has required these women to take up the functions of decision-making and governance as a remedial mechanism as well as a new path. Based on a case study in a typical hollowing-out village in central China, this paper explores an example of left-behind women’s collective action to prevent the over-exploitation of community and resources. It finds out that although traditionally excluded from public activities and marginalized, the “left-behind” women were able to mobilize and enhance collective action. When empowered, they are growing fast with endurance and courage, and as capable as anyone of defending the common-pool resources. It suggests that the left-behind women offer a new governance option for those population hollowing out rural areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-399
Number of pages18
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2019


Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Society and Natural Resources on 20/01/2019, available online:


  • Collective action
  • Common-pool resources
  • left-behind women
  • rural governance
  • rural hollowing-out

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