Leftover Women

Independent, successful, single and over 30. These characteristics can for a young Chinese woman lead to great stigma in the society. Millions of urban Chinese women in their 30s have ended up in the leftover-group. In china they call them “Sheng nu”. A word that is striving between having a positive and negative attribute to it, between meaning a “successful women” and “unmarried failure”

Meanwhile China is peaking towards a serious gender inbalance with over 20 million more men then women under the age of 30, making the men the true “Leftovers”.

Who are these women? How do they cope living in a a society where love is everyone’s business? Are they picky and therefor don’t deserve our sympathy, or are they truly being discriminated, and looked upon as rejects in a man’s world?

There are many of them, nearly a million in Shanghai. The city where Mao is dead, long gone from the walls. Where communism is replaced by capitalism, and the old community mindset with individualism. The most basic social unit of Chinese society, the family, is in big change. “Sheng nu” represents a new China, but also how the traditional family ideals still affects the lives of these women.

by Klaudia Lech

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