China’s ‘leftover women’ using their financial power to fight stigma

In China, if you are female, educated and unmarried by the age of 27, people might use a particular term – “sheng-nu” – to describe your social status. It translates simply as “leftover woman.”

The label was deliberately invented to curb the rising number of single women in a traditional society that sometimes views not marrying as a moral transgression. Some even consider it a threat to national security.

Indeed, portrayals of single women as lonely, desperate, overqualified and intimidating appear regularly in Chinese media. Research has shown that the “sheng-nu” stigma has pressured many women into marriage.

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