China's 'leftover women' a growing concern
Chinese men want wives who are easier to control, one woman says.
China has a not-so-flattering nickname for ladies in their late twenties who have never been married: sheng-nu, or "leftover women."
In 2010, a survey from China's All-China Women's Federation found that 90 percent of Chinese men agree: A woman should be married by age 27; any older and she risks a lifetime of undesirability. The government is becoming increasingly concerned about the country's unmarried female population. In 2007, the Chinese Ministry of Education blamed these ladies for their "overly high expectations for marriage partners."
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Dr. Sandy To, a sociologist based at the University of Hong Kong, begged to differ.
From 2008 to 2012, To interviewed 50 Chinese women from 14 different cities. All of the women had degrees and careers. Dr. To sought to find just why they remained unmarried. Despite the government's insistence that sheng-nu have unrealistic expectations, To found that it was actually the women who were being rejected:
"These women can hardly be blamed for their 'leftover' status, because they are the ones who are being rejected," To explained to the Daily Mail. "During China's early reform era, management-level women faced discriminatory treatment in the marriage market. Four decades later, my research found that highly educated women in today's post-reform era still suffer from the same discrimination, as they are passed over for less-educated, less career-orientated women instead."
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One 33-year-old woman in the study explained that she dated a guy who insisted she quit working after they got married. Another woman, a 29-year-old fund accountant, described how her relationship fell apart:
"He said he felt that he had to spend a lot of effort to control me, so he chose someone else who was easier to control."
Overall, To found that the women struggle to find men willing to accept their status in the working world.
Marriage still remains a coveted, necessary tradition in Chinese culture. Just last week, the government ordered the Women's Federation to start using the term sheng-nu in an effort to shame women into getting married.
But despite the theory that "leftover women" are indignant about marriage, Dr. To's research shows they're actively looking for men and hoping to eventually tie the knot — they're just not willing to give up their careers to do so.More from The Heart Beat:
China's 'fake-marriage market' a growing trend
'Missed Connections' map shows most common places for lost love
Longest kiss ever: Couple locks lips for 58 hours
Photo: Blue Jean Images/Getty Images
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