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Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China (Asian Arguments) Paperback – May 1, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1780329215 ISBN-10: 1780329210

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Product Details

  • Series: Asian Arguments
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780329210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780329215
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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


About the Author

Leta Hong Fincher is an award-winning former journalist who has published in a number of magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times. She is completing her Ph.D. in Sociology at Tsinghua University, China.


More About the Author

"Leta Hong Fincher has written a shocking account of the way women are treated in the People's Republic" - The Guardian Book Review by Julia Lovell

"Leta Hong Fincher's 'Leftover Women' offers a...chilling account of the pressures on Chinese strivers" - New York Times Book Review by Judith Shapiro

"A compelling piece of original research" - The Economist Book Review

"Powerful - and provocative...It's 'Backlash', China-style, on a scale Susan Faludi never envisioned" - L.A. Review of Books, by Mei Fong

"In 'Leftover Women,' Leta Hong Fincher convincingly argues that an orchestrated state campaign co-opts women to marry and buy marital homes, often to the detriment of their careers and financial independence" - Wall Street Journal Book Review, by Anjie Zheng

"Gender relations, in many ways so much more advanced in China than in India, are going backwards as traditions that were seemingly flattened by Mao re-emerge" - Financial Times Book Review, by David Pilling

"The book serves as a vital introduction to gender issues in urban China" - Publishers Weekly Book Review

"A timely, rich and intricately written book on gender equality in China" - The Telegraph, by Marta Cooper

"A must-read for anyone interested in the modern condition of Chinese women"
- South China Morning Post Book Review by Joanna Chiu

"Gender oppression...results from multiple forces -- economic, social, political; micro and macro -- working in concert. LEFTOVER WOMEN's greatest achievement is in conveying these manifold intricacies." - Bookforum Book Review by Audrea Lim

"Hong Fincher's careful exposé and moving interviews are liable to leave the reader indignant" - Reuters Book Review by Katrina Hamlin

" 'Leftover Women' is a chilling portrayal - often told through the voices of the women themselves - of the rapid deterioration of women's equality in China. If you think you know China, you don't until you have read this book." - China Law and Policy Book Review by Elizabeth Lynch

"Leta Hong Fincher's hotly anticipated book, Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China...is a timely, thought-provoking read for anyone interested in either China, gender or both" - Libertine Book Review

"[Hong Fincher] demonstrates how discrimination against women can be subtle, almost invisible, yet devastating in its outcomes" - Grist Media Book Review by Pallavi Aiyar

Leta Hong Fincher is the first American to receive a PhD in Sociology from Tsinghua University in Beijing. Follow her on Twitter @letahong.

Customer Reviews

A very important book, Leftover Women documents an appalling trend of which Mao himself would be ashamed.
A. Johnson
As a Chinese native who has lived in China all her life, I do not recall any concerted efforts by state media or the government to rush women into marriage.
Zee
Again, the informant did not specify the connection between her anxiety and the prescribed age of ‘leftover’ women advocated by the state media.
Yang Shen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Yang Shen on May 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Leta Hong Fincher was a journalist before completing a PhD in Sociology at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. This book is based on her PhD project on the under-researched connections between leftover women, China’s property market, and gender inequality. Fincher has previously written articles discussing similar issues for the New York Times, CNN, and Ms. Magazine, through which these topics have already gained some popularity. With an abundance of interview quotes and contemporaneous media reports, this book is quite readable and has the potential to attract a wide audience.

According to Fincher, the term ‘leftover woman’ in China ‘is widely used to describe an urban, professional female in her late twenties or older who is still single’ (p.2). In Chapter 1, Fincher examines the leftover women discourse mediated through ‘state media news reports, surveys, columns, cartoons and television shows’ (p.15), and argues that two reasons account for the state promoting the leftover women discourse: one is to maintain social stability in the context of the persisting sex ratio imbalance – China has 32million more men aged under 20 than women – that prevents a lot of men from finding wives; the other is to upgrade the ‘quality’ of the populace by urging well-educated women to marry. It is an insightful observation indeed that the state serves as a latent driver, disseminating this stigmatizing ‘leftover’ women discourse, which arguably has a profound impact on unmarried women over the age of 25.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. Sander on April 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I heard about its planned publication many months ago. Ever since living in China for 2 years I have been reading Leta's articles and I have been very interested in the subject of female rights and 'leftover women' in particular (also since I married what Chinese would consider a 'leftover woman').

Maybe because of my high expectations the book did not fully satisfy. The biggest problem is probably that I find the title somewhat misleading. Having read a lot about leftover women already I did not find an awful lot of new information in Leta's book I was not yet aware of. At the same time however, she goes somewhat off-topic in various chapters and covers a few areas which are not 100% related to the books title. Emancipation under Mao, female property rights in the SOng and Ming dynasties, domestic violence, female activism and homosexuality are all very interesting topics, but in this book it almost feels like they have been included as filler material ... leftover content to beef things up so to speak.

Now, considering that the book isn't that long to begin with and that 25% of the Kindle version consists of sources and for an e-book mostly unnecessary index, the actual pages that cover 'leftover women' and gender inequality are less than you might expect. And even then the text is quite repetitive at times. As such, the main content could basically have been covered in a long essay instead of a book.
I bought the e-book mid April for $9,99 but strange enough the price has now been raised to $13,99 which I would consider too high for what you get (not to mention the ridiculous price for a hardcover version).

Leta draws her opinions from various interviews and microblog messages she received.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Zee on April 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
As a Chinese native who has lived in China all her life, I do not recall any concerted efforts by state media or the government to rush women into marriage. Even if there are a few articles that pressure shengnu to marry (as the author cites in the book), everyone in China knows not to trust state media. Chinese state media has very little (if any) credibility especially among the urban population.

The pressure to marry early has been widespread in Chinese society for centuries if not dynasties. Look at East Asia (Japan and Korea, for example), you would notice very similar things happening. It's not some "government propaganda" in China that led to the pressure on women to marry early. Furthermore, you notice the same phenomenon in other cultures on other continents as well, where the word "shengnu" and propaganda machines don't exist.

I also found the phrase "resurgence of gender inequality" problematic. The author compares today's China with the Song dynasty, when more women held property. Yes, Chinese women today may have less independence in terms of property, but what about the other (and I would argue more important) aspects of gender equality such as access to education and jobs and equal pay for equal work?

Gender inequality is rampant in today's China, but I find the author's arguments and evidence either too narrow or too simplistic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Phil Wirrel on August 12, 2014
Format: Paperback
Highly sensationalised and blown out of proportion.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Interesting yet disturbing Very circular stories - all variations on the same theme. Having lived in China, curious that the dirth of women is not yet increasing their relative influence more dramatically.
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