The three-plus decades since the inception of the ‘one child’ policy have resulted in a huge female shortage in China. The country is now seriously unbalanced, with 18 million more boys than girls. By 2020, there will be some 30 million surplus men in China, a condition some demographers call—in all seriousness—a male bulge.

The laws of supply and demand, which armchair social scientists seem to apply to this situation with abandon, China’s women should have the upper hand.

Former journalist and sociologist Leta Hong Fincher disagrees.

“There’s very little evidence that urban women have turned their scarcity into economic gain,” she writes in Leftover Women, the result of three years voluminous research towards a Ph.D. at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, which will be released on May 1 in the United States by Zed Books.

Hong Fincher presents compelling evidence women’s rights in China have seriously regressed since Mao Zedong proclaimed, “Women hold up half the sky.”

Read my Q+A on ChilaFile with Leta Hong Fincher, author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China.”