Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fact of the Day: 500,000 Single Women in Beijing

Apparently Beijing has 500,000 "leftover women" or 女 (sheng4 nu3), single women over 30.

Experts say these women prefer their careers and single lives over marriage and family, showing an individual streak.

However, these shengnu also get a bad rap, as they are often nicknamed the "3S women": single, seventies (born in the 1970s) and stuck.

Stuck? Who says they're in a rut?

It's these singletons who are blazing trails with their careers, better at most jobs than men, thanks to their good communication skills and attention to detail, according to Pan Suiming, a sexologist at Renmin University.

And on the whole these career women are pretty satisfied with their lives.

"I enjoy my single life very much. I can't think of anything a marriage could bring me other than companionship," said 32-year-old Yan Yao. "Good companionship is hard to find."

However, she admits feeling remorse for not fulfilling traditional Chinese values. "I feel guilty for my parents, who desperately want grandchildren, but I won't sacrifice my life for their needs," said Yan.

Others accuse these "leftover women" for being "kidults", unwilling to take on responsibilities that come with a family.

"I'm an only child. I have little idea of how to take care of a family. It's scary to think about how I would have to consider my family before I make any decisions," said Li Qing, 30.

While 500,000 may seem like a lot of single women in the Chinese capital, there will be more, according to Li Yinhe, another sexologist and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who is outspoken about women and gay issues.

"About 25 percent of European households are single; China still has room to catch up at 11 percent," she said. Li also predicts the number of "leftover women" might decline in the long term as there will be many more men to choose from due to the imbalance in the sex ratio in China.

With a greater number of suitors to choose from this can only benefit women even more.

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