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China’s single women—are they the source of its future?
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.
“Lake’s strong connection to Chinese culture and society jumps off the pages of Leftover in China, in which she playfully and compellingly offers a window into the female experience in modern China, explaining fascinating concepts that are unique to modern-day society.” — What’s On Weibo
“What a fascinating book. Roseann Lake captures China’s tense sociopolitical climate today, as their ancient, deeply rooted traditions, values and beliefs about sex, romance and marriage clash with the powerful current trend toward individualism in this dedicated collectivist society. The aftershocks of the 'one-child' policy; Chinese women entering the market in droves; today’s antiquated Chinese courtship codes; this book depicts the profound global shift in human family life with elegance, clarity, insight, humor, and verve. It's a great read.” — Helen Fisher
“Lake’s... book paints a vivid picture of how China’s young people, faced with a broadly conservative culture, are trying to cope.” — The Guardian
Related to this Book
Roseann Lake discusses in Business Insider UK how women who aren't married by 25 are reshaping China's traditional culture.
Extract from Leftover in China on Refinery29
Roseann Lake tells Grazia why China’s women are key to the country’s economic future.