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GEOG 186 Study Guide - Final Guide: Xinhua News Agency, Speed Dating, Ng Mui

Course Code
GEOG 186
Andrew Grant
Study Guide

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Leftover Women
(HOW) Phenomenon: economic inequality and gender discrimination in China: Chinese women
give up their economic status in household: even educated women invest all their savings in a
home but do not have their name entitled - why? (even though 1950 the Marriage Law granted
women rights to property divorce and freedom of choice in marriage, among other rights) >
they give up their bargaining power
gender inequality:
1) economic (house) (even within a family that parents buy house only for sons instead of
2) men over 30 are still regarded as having their golden age
3) leftover men: rural, uneducated; leftover women: urban, educated > why???
leftover woman: a discriminating word defined by the All-China Womens Federation (the
only womens union in China) and described by main-stream media in China -why?
1) in a smaller sense:single women older than 27, usually an urban, professional female in her
late twenties or holder who is still single (targeting on educated women)
2) in a larger sense: women have been left over and left behind by the ruling Communist
Party in its breakneck race for economic growth at all costs (how to understand this
sentence?: gender gap in urban employment and income?)
Combination of social factors that contribute to the fall in status and material wellbeing of
Chinese women relative to men:
1) skyrocketing home prices
2) a resurgence of traditional gender norms
3) legal setbacks to married womens property rights
4) declining labor force participation among women
5) media campaign against leftover women
WHY government want to promote such an idea (why it want women to get married?)
To achieve its demographic goals of promoting marriage, planning population, and maintaining
social stability (there are more males than females in China)
WHY parents and woman themselves do so:
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Chinese tradition (so that parents want their daughters to get married)
WHY Womens Federation get involved?
Its nature is to assist the govt. and bolster male supremacy. (pg. 18) E.g., in Maoist era, it help
the state to facilitate one-child policy by monitoring women and controlling their bodies
The book will show that it is young women rushing into marriage too early that tend to wind up
in trouble (HOW?) (WHY: because they are so worried about becoming leftover women that
they rush into marriage without protecting their economic interests; they are caught up in the
excitement of the wedding and can hardly be faulted for failing to predict the long-term
consequences of giving away their property rights so their life become harder after marriage)
Media campaign - Respond to social changes by constantly inventing new ways to insult
single women, and finding new groups of women to fit within the leftover category (pg.
(WHY) Media campaign serves as a state program to maintain social stability and upgrade
population quality:
1. Maintaining social stability: China is facing a shortage of marriage age women (due to a
traditional preference for boys -> highest sex ratio imbalance at birth), and restless single
men are seen as a threat to the foundation of Chinese society, and single women threaten the
moral fabric because they fail to perform their duty to give birth to a child, while married
couples are much less likely to cause trouble (pg. 22-23) > maintaining social stability has
always been important to Chinese government and media campaign to promote marriage is a
soft measure
2. Chinese governments population planning goals. State Council cites the low quality of the
general population, which makes it hard to meet the requirements of fierce competition for
national strength > therefore 1) need upgrading population quality (pg. 28) > the
eugenics campaign. State program to upgrade population quality by pressuring educated,
high quality women to marry and have a high quality baby for the good of the nation ->
materialize women and children; 2) need women to marry and have babies early since babies
of young women are less likely born with birth defects(pg. 32); 3) Since Chinese women are
increasingly high-educated, and examples of Japan, Singapore and other countries indicates
that high educated women tend to marry late or not marry (pg. 30), Chinese government is
afraid that a large number of Chinese educated women would also choose not to marry and
this would harm the general quality of population.
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