Forty years ago in China, marriage was universal, compulsory and a woman’s only means to a livelihood. Then the one-child policy resulted in China’s first generations of urban only-daughters-girls who were pushed to study, achieve and succeed as if they were sons. Now, enough of these women have decided to postpone marriage-or not marry at all-to spawn a label: “leftovers”. They struggle to find partners in a society where gender roles have not evolved as vigorously as the society itself. Part critique of China’s paternalistic ideals, part playful portrait of the romantic travails of China’s trailblazing women, Leftover in China employs colourful anecdotes, hundreds of interviews and rigorous historical and demographic research to show how the “leftovers” are the linchpin to China’s future.
Leftover in China