Lots of Single Chinese Women can't find a husband

China has a lot of single women in between the ages of 27 and 35 who can't find a husband.

Why you ask?

Because Chinese men prefer to marry younger women... preferably attractive women. So what has happened is that the younger women who are less attractive end up going to university and get their Masters or PhD and by the time they graduate they are about 27 or so.

But by that point they are no longer considered desirable because they're too old - even though they may have blossomed and become more attractive during those years.

Being single and between the ages of 27 and 35 is a big no-no in Chinese culture. There is a lot of pressure for women in this age group to get married and have a kid. Pressure from parents, from friends, and from society.

But Chinese men are too busy chasing after younger women who are 18 to 26 and attractive, and thus the vicious cycle continues.

A Chinese woman who is a confident, personable, has a good salary job, lives in her own apartment, has a MA from one of China’s top universities, and a wealth of friends - but can't get a date to save her life because "27 is too old".

The Chinese government even has a name for these single, urban, educated women in China. They are called “sheng nu” or “leftover women” — and it bites.

It’s an odd label in a country with a surplus of single young men. (Due to China's one child policy many families choose to have a boy instead of a girl and parents often do late term abortions in an effort to have a boy. Decades of this policy has left China with a lot of young men who are all fighting over a small handful of attractive women.

The phenomenon is so cultural there is even a television drama that ran a couple of years ago called “Old Women Should Get Married”. Not kidding, that was the title! The plot featured a 33-year-old woman who watched her younger sister get married, suffered through blind dates (including one who turned out to be a drug dealer), and put up with her family constantly telling her to stop being so picky and just find a man.

It wasn't a comedy. It was more like a soap opera - but without the evil twin brothers.

This kind of cultural message gets hammered in multiple ways in China’s state-run media. Even the webpage of the government’s supposedly feminist All-China Women’s Federation used to feature articles about leftover women – until enough women complained and told them to stop doing that because its annoying.

Its reached a point where the cultural stigma is so bad that more government interference on the problem (the proverbial lime light) is only making the issue worse.

Since 2007, the Chinese state media have aggressively used the term "leftover women", in surveys, and news reports, and columns, in cartoons and pictures. They are deliberately stigmatizing educated women over the age of 27 or 30 who are still single.

As if it is somehow the women's fault that men keep going over after younger women.

The simple fact is that the gender imbalance in China is one of too many men. There are an estimated 20 million extra men under the age of 30 than there is women under 30. That is 20 million extra men who will either not get married, or go chasing after younger women as the men get older and older.

So its only going to get worse unless the men either get desperate enough to start thinking older and educated, or they are just going to have to stick their "hand best friend". (Any bets on how many millions of single Chinese men are jerking off right now? Difficult to say, p*rnography in China is illegal - So they're probably jerking off to lingerie catalogues.)

Its not just the matter of marrying younger / attractive women either.

Men in China also prefer to marry uneducated women in an effort to get a woman they feel superior to and can more easily control. The same thing happens here in North America too. Men are intimidated by educated women who can think for themselves.

When it comes to education men in China want to marry women who are slightly less educated than themselves. The concept is essentially explained as a matter of quality:

“There is an opinion that A quality guys will find B quality women, B quality guys will find C quality women, and C quality men will find D quality women,” Huang says. “The people left are A quality women and D quality men. So if you are a leftover woman, you are A quality.”

So if you are a woman and get As in your grades in school and university, you are automatically considered to be less attractive.

The Chinese population planning policy used to officially have a law promoting eugenics... They actually had the word ‘eugenics’ in the name of the policy. Since then they've changed the name, but the family planning policy is still behind the times by about 40 years.

The state-run media keeps up a barrage of messages aimed at picky educated women. Here’s one translated title:

“Leftover Women Do Not Deserve Our Sympathy.”

“Pretty girls do not need a lot of education to marry into a rich and powerful family. But girls with an average or ugly appearance will find it difficult. These girls hope to further their education in order to increase their competitiveness. The tragedy is, they don’t realize that as women age, they are worth less and less. So by the time they get their MA or Ph.D, they are already old – like yellowed pearls.”

However I think I should point out something.

There are plenty of men in Canada and the USA (myself included) who would be willing to marry these educated Chinese women. Judging by the photos I've found of China's "leftover women" some of them are very attractive and men in North America probably aren't as intimidated by women who also have brains.

If China doesn't want these women, send them over here!


  1. Thumbs up for your upbeat and candid thoughts, but my honest opinion is single educated Chinese women (myself included) don't need pity from American men.

    1. Who said anything about pity?

      If anything intelligent women are quite desirable.