Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

Not surprisingly, life in China sucks for women. Heartbreaking interviews with educated, smart Chinese ladies who are falling into the trap of needing to get married lest they be labeled “leftover” women, despite the ratio being in their favor for finding a mate. Time and again these high wage earners put their entire life savings into buying a house in their husband’s name and not having a cent of their own during the obvious turmoil that follows in most modern marriages. “Have you experienced domestic violence?” “No.” “Has your husband ever hit you?” “Yes.” Disparity of what is considered OK. The stripping away of the equal rights that Chairman Mao ostensibly fought for.
Parents routinely help male cousins purchase houses and expect their daughters to pitch in, instead of investing in housing for their daughters. At the time of writing, China National Board of Statistics data show 20M more men than women under 30 years old, due to the preference of male children and the one-child policy. One example: Zhou Nan, a 25 year old hair stylist in Beijing with 2 older sisters; their parents did not help the sisters buy homes when they married. Even though Zhou has no plans to marry, his parents bought him an apartment with cash several years ago. Then they helped him buy a second apartment. Why didn’t his parents also help his sisters? Zhou says, “Chinese parents do not like to buy homes for girls.”
There you have it: deeply rooted cultural patriarchy making everything ok. The author interviewed hundreds of people for this book; another interviewee, 26 year old legal worker and only daughter said her parents kept a detailed account of all the money they spent on her over the years for school, clothes, food, travel, and frequently showed her an itemized list of expenses to remind her that she owed them. Never did parents demand that their son repay them for buying his house.
Sorely tempted to flounce over to China and buy myself an apartment.