What is the size of China’s gender imbalance? Equal to the combined populations of New York State and Pennsylvania combined (approximately 34 million)! The one-child policy is widely seen as the cause of the skewed gender ratio; less studied than the men who are unable to find spouses are the millions of urban, educated women who may also go unwed. Gender roles and expectations have not kept pace with the country’s economic and social transformations of recent decades, and such women, who postpone or forgo marriage for the sake of their careers, are commonly referred to as “leftover women.” In a new book, Roseann Lake explores the challenges and pressures these women face, as well as the ways in which they are determining China’s future. Ms. Lake joined the National Committee on March 5, 2018 for a discussion of her book and the world of work, dating, and matrimony experienced by China’s only daughters.
Roseann Lake is now The Economist's Cuba correspondent. She was previously based in Beijing, where she spent five years working as a television and print reporter. Her China coverage has appeared in Foreign Policy, Time, The Atlantic, Salon and Vice, among other publications. She divides her time between New York City and Havana.