Forty years ago in China, marriage was universal, compulsory, and a woman’s only means to livelihood. Enter the one-child policy, which has resulted in China’s first generations of urban only daughters – girls who were raised without brothers but who were pushed to study, achieve, and succeed as if they were sons.
Fast forward to the present, where in an urbanized, economic powerhouse, enough of these women have decided to postpone marriage—or not marry at all—to spawn a label: “leftovers.” Unprecedentedly well-educated, they struggle to find partners in a society where gender roles have not evolved as vigorously as China itself.
Part critique of China’s paternalistic ideals, part playful portrait of the romantic travails of China’s trailblazing women, Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower employs colorful anecdotes, interviews, and rigorous historical research to show how “leftovers” are the linchpin to China’s economic and demographic future.
Moderated by Maria Montoya, Dean of Arts and Sciences, NYU Shanghai.