leta hong fincher

Are you over the age of 27? Highly educated? And unmarried? In China, you may be known as the “leftover woman.”

According to Leta Hong Fincher, author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China,“ a government-led media campaign that pressures women into early marriages has severe economic consequences. Marriage and home buying are closely linked together in China. Fearing that they will be "leftover,” many women have rushed into unsuitable marriages made on the condition that they leave their names off the property deeds.  

After interviewing hundreds of women, Fincher found that only about 30 percent of the married women have their names on the marital property deeds. In accordance with the country’s marriage law, when a couple divorces, each side keeps what is in his or her own name. Consequently, in big cities where a third of marriages end in divorce, many women have been shut out of “possibly the biggest accumulation of residential real-estate wealth in history,” worth more than $30 trillion in 2013.

Read more via The Economist.

In one sense, ‘leftover’ women do not exist. They are a category of women concocted by the government to achieve its demographic goals of promoting marriage, planning population, and maintaining social stability. The state media campaign against 'leftover’ women is just one of the signs that in recent years, contrary to many claims made by mainstream news organizations, women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of rights and gains relative to men. It is in this larger sense that women have been 'left over’ and left behind by the ruling Communist Party in its breakneck race for economic growth at all costs.
—  leta hong fincher, leftover women