Seeking arrangement: The town of 600 is almost entirely made up of women – 300 of whom are eligible
Brazil: A town where the entire population is made up of young women has made an appeal for single men – but only those willing to live by female rules.Over 600 women make up the population of Noiva do Cordeiro, south-east Brazil – most aged between 20 and 35.
Although some are married with families, their husbands are made to work away from home, only being allowed to return at weekends. Sons are sent away when they reach 18 and no other men are permitted to live in the town, which sits in a remote valley 60 miles east of Belo Horizonte. The settlement dates back to the 1890s, when a young woman and her family were excommunicated from the Catholic church after she was accused of adultery.
Slowly more single women and mother-only families joined the community, and over the decades several attempts by men to interfere in their way of life made them adopt a strictly ‘no male’ policy.
Everything in Noiva do Cordeiro, nestling deep in the hills of southeast Brazil, has a distinctive feminine touch.
The houses are painted lilac, pink and orange, the trees are delicately-manicured and tied with ribbons, and the scent of fresh lavender floats in the breeze.
A rural town, which lies 300 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, is populated – and governed – almost entirely by 600 women – 300 of whom are of working age and eligible. Today, girl power rules in the rural town, with women in charge of every aspect of life – from farming to town planning and even religion.
Mysteriously cut off from the outside world for more than a century, they are renowned for their beauty – but also for their stubborn refusal to live in a man’s world.
But while none of the residents of Noiva do Cordeiro would have it any other way, it has left them with just one problem. One of the women, Nelma Fernandes, 23, admits it’s impossible for the girls – renowned in the region as strikingly beautiful – to find a would-be spouse.
She said: “Here, the only men we single girls meet are either married or related to us, everyone is a cousin. I haven’t kissed a man for a long time. “We all dream of falling in love and getting married. But we like living here and don’t want to have to leave the town to find a husband.
“Any man interested in one of our girls needs to understand that. If you want to come here you’ll need to live as we do. And that means accepting that you won’t be in charge” – Vilma Viera