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Economic Gap Between Chinese Men and Women Is Narrowest in the World
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2017-7-13-
Title: Economic Gap Between Chinese Men and Women Is Narrowest in the World
Source: National Business Daily
Release Date: July 13, 2017
Keyword: economy, gap, men, women

An article titled 'Well Educated, Single Women in Their Late 20s Are Called 'Leftover Women' in China,' which was recently published on Quartz, a US-based financial website, has recently captured the attention of the public.

The author, Daisy Guo, said in her article that when she was in a taxi in UAE, a kind-heated Bangladeshi driver eagerly showed her several wedding pictures of his 13-year-old daughter on his mobile phone.

When the man learned that the author was still single at the age of 28, he made no effort to hide his surprise and said, "You must be old for an unmarried woman in China, right? Hurry up, find a man and get married!"

Maybe young women were destined to be housewives only in ancient China, which symbolizes their success or not. But now, taking care of the family is no longer the only choice for women.

The expression - 'leftover women' was included in the Language Situation in China: 2006, which was issued by China's Ministry of Culture in 2007. It refers to women who remain single at around 27 years old, a socially-recognized marriageable age.

However, among those who were born in the 1980s, the proportion of 'leftover men' and 'leftover women' is 136:100, indicating that it is men, not women, who are left over by society.

At present, there are nearly 200 million single people in China. Of which, men outnumber women by 33.66 million.

Economic Gap Between Chinese Men and Women Is Narrowest in the World

In the article, the author wrote, "When it comes to cities alone (especially big cities), there are more unmarried women than single men. The more developed a city is, the more unmarried women it has, as the urban development level is inversely proportional to the ratio between unmarried men and women."

The author cited an instance in Shanghai, the number of bachelors only accounts for a quarter of single women, most of whom are aged between 30-35.

In cities, 'leftover women' are normally well educated with a high income. Thanks to women's liberation movements, women are equal to men in terms of education.

The number of female university students has outnumbered that of men since 2008, although male students' population base is much larger than women's. At the same time, the proportion of women's employment is on the increase as well. Therefore, the author concluded that from an economic perspective, the gap between Chinese men and women is the narrowest in the world.

It is worth noting that women's salaries are generally lower than that of men's and the gender wage pay is gradually expanding in China.

According to the Report on China's Population and Labor released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in 2016, among China's urban employed population, the average wage of women was about 77.5 percent of that of men in 1990, while the percentage was dropped to 65.8 percent in 2010.

Nearly 70% of Women in Cities Possess Their Own Houses

In 2016, about 42.6 percent of female respondents' salary increased and 27.8 percent felt satisfied with their current income, according to the Annual Report on Chinese Women's State of Life, jointly produced recently by the China Family Culture Research Society and Social Sciences Academy Press (China), as well as other institutions.

The report also indicated that 69.6 percent of surveyed women possess their own property.

In addition, "rising prices and high cost of living", "air and environment pollution" and "low personal and family income" were the top three worries among surveyed women, according to the report.

'Leftover Women' in China Can Be Independent, Confident and Free

A controversial advertisement ‘Marriage Market Takeover’, which was filmed by Swedish director Anna Qvennerstedt, was also mentioned in Daisy Guo's article.

The movie got more than 400,000 hits on social media when it hit the big screen, because it reflects the real relations between the majority of 'leftover women' and their parents.

In the movie, parents keep up the idle chatter for their daughters' marriage, fearing that they might become "leftovers". But these highly successful daughters refuse to compromise.

At last, the parents take their daughters to a "matchmaking corner", in which they see bold declarations from women who are proud to be single. These parents finally begin to understand and support their daughters' decisions.

In the author's opinion, 'leftover women' with a good education and high income are quite able to be independent, confident and free. They have extensive knowledge, successful careers and a high social status. As famous Chinese writer Qian Zhongshu said in his novel "Fortress Besieged", "marriage is like a fortress besieged: those who are outside want to get in and those who are inside want to get out". To be single should not always be a negative decision. Therefore, women should be encouraged to raise their consciousness rather than getting married blindly so that they can define their happiness and pursue the lifestyle by themselves. 

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