Leftover Women

Leftover Women

The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China

By Leta Hong Fincher; Leta Hong Fincher

Zed Books, Paperback, 9781780329215, 224pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2014

A century ago, Chinese feminists fighting for the emancipation of women helped spark the Republican Revolution, which overthrew the Qing empire. After China's Communist revolution of 1949, Chairman Mao famously proclaimed that "women hold up half the sky." In the early years of the People's Republic, the Communist Party sought to transform gender relations with expansive initiatives such as assigning urban women jobs in the planned economy. Yet those gains are now being eroded in China's post-socialist era. Contrary to many claims made in the mainstream media, women in China have experienced a dramatic rollback of many rights and gains relative to men. Leftover Women debunks the popular myth that women have fared well as a result of post-socialist China's economic reforms and breakneck growth. Laying out the structural discrimination against women in China will speak to broader problems with China's economy, politics, and development.

About the Author

Praise For Leftover Women

"In lively and accessible prose Hong-Fincher demonstrates conclusively that urban professional women have been disproportionately disadvantaged during China's breakneck economic development and largest wealth accumulation in human history. Hong-Fincher exhaustively cites media, government statistics, her own interviews, and her Weibo survey results to substantiate the fact that gender inequality in China has reappeared with a vengeance and shows no signs of abating any time soon." - Rebecca E. Karl, New York University

"Cast aside what you think you know about the 'empowered' women of China today. Modern Chinese women are under pressure in a society that often locks them out of social equality, property rights, and legal protection from domestic abuse. This is the reality that China scholar Leta Hong Fincher puts forward in her study of resurgent gender inequality in China. Her book is a well-researched and riveting read, including a number of gripping personal accounts straight from China's so-called 'Leftover Women.' For any curious observer of China or women's issues, this is one to read." - Kristie Lu Stout, Anchor/Correspondent, CNN International

"Making the most of her experience as a journalist and her training in sociology, Leta Hong Fincher draws on previous breakthrough works in Chinese gender studies and her own interviews, while proving equally at home summarizing statistics and telling poignant tales of individual experience. The result is an engagingly written, thought provoking work on a crucially important but often overlooked subject. Essential reading." - Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know

"A brilliant, compelling, and innovative study of contemporary China and one of the most important sociological inquiries into the political economy of gender. Leta Hong Fincher's richly detailed research and critical analysis of gender politics in 'Leftover' Women provide an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to understand the key socioeconomic transformations in postsocialist China." - Lydia H. Liu, Columbia University, co-editor of The Birth of Chinese Feminism