Random Getty Image- not particular to the story below.

In the 1950’s, the average Chinese woman married before she was 20-years-old. In 1980’s, the age changed to 25, and now it is 27. The Chinese government has been pressuring women to get married young for decades and have used machinating ads in the past to fuel long-standing Chinese prejudices against single women over 27. These days, such women are frequently referred to as “leftover” women. Such seemingly archaic views nevertheless carry sway with these women because of the social stigma and lack of parental support: It is not uncommon for the parents of unwed daughters to publicly display their disappointment.

The status of being unwed is further complicated by the dual Chinese societal pressure of placing emphasis on further education for women in China. Women have responded by obtaining advanced degrees, and technical training, at a pace, never matched in China’s history. The pursuit of higher education naturally takes time, and marriage and children are not conducive towards these goals. 

Statistics also reveal that highly educated women are too challenging for most men: Equally educated men prefer women who are less educated. To top it off, the National Bureau of Statistics data shows there are now about 20 million more men under 30 than women under 30. All of these factors combined make it tough for highly educated women, over 27, to fulfill their parent’s wishes.

Truth be told, women in China are challenging the status quo and rising above the institutionalized prejudice against women there in general. The age of 27 is too young to be considered “left-overs,” indeed, the term is inappropriate at any age. These women are right to pursue further education, or training in other aspects of the workplace– it is a good path for obtaining the independence they deserve.

As for men who prefer less educated women, and those who are improving their working skills in different areas, that is their loss. Men often try to position themselves whereby they are in control– talented and educated women scare them. We only hope that social media will not slow down these women’s upward mobility.

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