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  • Chinese women are better off alone
  • Chinese women are better off alone
    Renato Morbach, Creative Commons (2009) ©

Who are China’s ‘leftover’ women?

For the last decade, Chinese magazines, sites and government bodies have been labelling unmarried women over 27 as sheng nu –‘leftover women’ – in a bid to counter a social trend seen as destabilising society. But who are these leftover women? And why should brands be paying attention to them?

Location China

For the last decade, Chinese media and government bodies – including the All China Women’s Federation, an organisation founded in 1949 ostensibly to defend women’s rights – have been labelling unmarried women over 27 as sheng nu (‘leftover women’) in a bid counter a social trend seen as destabilising society. [1]

Around one in five women aged 25-29 in China is unmarried. Meanwhile, the average age of marriage among urban women has risen from just under 20 in 1950, to 25 in the 1980s, to about 27 nowadays. [2] This shift in Chinese society mirrors a ...



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