Few kilometers from the border of India, German photographer Karolin Klüppel discovered the tiny, isolated village of Mawlynnong where ‘girls rule the world’. Made up of only 92 dwellings in the East Khasi Hills, the town uniquely operates as a matrilinear society, each family’s lineage traced through the surname of the wife instead of the husband. The result is a culture where female descendants are most crucial to the continuing bloodline and the youngest daughter inherits all family property. Fascinated by this rare singularity, Klüppel spent 6 months with the Mawlynnong women to create Mädchenland (Kingdom of Girls).
Along with the privilege of carrying the family name, girls are expected to take on many responsibilities at a very young age, often caring for 3 generations under one roof. As early as 8 years old, Mawlynnong females can run the entire household and tend to their younger siblings single handed. Despite their isolation from the modern world and a plethora of familial duties, the girls of Mawlynnong experience a life of freedom and reverence all their own.