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The odds against a girl in India are immense. Neglect, malnutrition, ill-health, lack of education, a life without assets, an early marriage and motherhood, the list is long.

When her husband died in 2009, Gladys Chepkorir had no time to linger on the grief. “Immediately after he died, his family started to ask me for the title deed,” she said. Her mother-in-law told her that in spite of the three daughters Gladys and her husband had together, Gladys’ husband had died “like a tree without limbs, because he died without heirs, without sons.”