Leftover Women

In collaboration with ChinaFile
New America

After the 1949 revolution in China, Chairman Mao famously proclaimed that “women hold up half the sky.” But in 2007, the Chinese government added to its official lexicon the term shengnü, “leftover women,” who are unmarried, professional women older than 27 years old. This derogatory term is just one sign that recent market reforms have exacerbated gender-discriminatory norms in a one-party state system with legacies of social engineering, a massive propaganda apparatus, and a tight grip on information.

Leta Hong Fincher’s Leftover Women argues that, contrary to many claims in the media, women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of rights relative to men. Has China’s booming economy left women behind? Does the country need a new women’s movement?

Join New America NYC, in collaboration with ChinaFile, in a conversation about the movement for gender equality in China and its impacts on the new model of economic and political development.

Copies of Leftover Women will be available for purchase.


Leta Hong Fincher
Author, Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

Susan Jakes
Editor, ChinaFile

Rebecca E. Karl
Associate Professor of East Asian Studies, New York University Co-editor, The Birth of Chinese Feminism