China is now facing an unprecedented female shortage, thanks to its 30-plus-year-old “one-child” policy and a cultural preference for sons, a volatile combination that has led to sex-selective abortions and cases of female infanticide. By 2020, the world’s most populous nation could possibly be the world’s horniest as well, with over 30 million surplus males. This group of young single men will outnumber the entire population of Saudi Arabia or Australia, and have mathematically no hope of finding mates, unless China were to improbably open its borders to wholesale immigration.
Given this huge sex imbalance, logic suggests Chinese women should currently have the upper hand, with greater bargaining power in love and marriage.
This isn’t the case, however, according to Leta Hong Fincher. In her short book, Leftover Women, she makes a powerful — and provocative — argument that China’s female shortage, far from empowering women, has actually resulted in a situation where urban women’s rights are increasingly imperiled.