The ‘Leftovers’: are they really that or was it a choice?
Since the 1980s, the one child policy has lead to abortions and gender discrimination, and left Chinese society with a demographic structure suffering from a severe gender imbalance, with some 117 boys born for every 100 girls in 2012, making finding a partner that much harder. For those who do not find partners, life can become quite miserable; some will feel dejected or feel an embarrassment to their family. This is especially so in the countryside, where attitudes towards marriage are still very traditional. On top of this, social welfare systems in the countryside are even less sturdy and so parents rely even more on children to fund their later years of life.
In addition to men in the countryside struggling to find wives, there is a phenomenon of single women over the age of 27 living in urban areas, who have been rather cruelly labeled ‘leftover women’.But many of these are not ‘leftovers’ in any sort of way. It wasn’t that they were never chosen, but rather that they chose different priorities for their own life. These women are often highly-educated and successful, choosing to focus on education and careers rather than finding a partner straight away, are ‘modern and progressive’ in the sense that they are independent and feel strongly that they don’t need a man, or have very high standards.