The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

China's 'Leftover Ladies'

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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Students look at a newspaper outside an employment fair in Hefei, in east China's Anhui province. Increasing numbers of Chinese women are choosing education and career over marriage, leading the media and government to label them "leftover ladies." STR/AFP/Getty Images

You wouldn't think it'd be hard to find a husband in China, since men outnumber women by a staggering figure. China's one-child policy for families has led to gender-selective abortions, with families favoring boys over girls. That's led to a widespread gender imbalance in the country — male babies outnumbered female babies 120 to 100 in 2000, according to the World Bank.

But as these Chinese women hit their 20s and 30s, more women are choosing education and their careers over finding a spouse. This has led to a socioeconomic group of unmarried women, given the derogatory label of "Leftover Ladies."

Christina Larson wrote about "Leftover Ladies" in the latest edition of Foreign Policy. She talks to Madeleine about what the gender imbalance means for China's future.


Christina Larson is contributing editor to Foreign Policy and is based in Beijing.

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