Thursday, 2 June 2016
An Evening with Leta Hong Fincher


By Amanda Roberts

Our evening with Leta Hong-Fincher, the author of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China, drew one of the largest attendances outside of an Imprint launch, including several people who travelled from Shenzhen. 

Fincher shared several slides that showed how China's propaganda regarding women has changed over time. In the 1950s and 60s, women were encouraged not only to work, but to work in traditionally masculine jobs alongside men. Today, however, that sort of encouragement has almost wholly disappeared. In 2007, the All China Women's Federation coined the term Leftover Women (shèngnǚ) and began an aggressive campaign encouraging educated, urban women in their mid-twenties to marry and have children.

2007 was also the year that the Chinese government issued a report decrying the "poor quality" of the Chinese people. This push to encourage educated urban women to marry and reproduce was for two reasons: to combat China¡¦s growing gender imbalance and to improve the overall quality of the Chinese people.

Hong-Fincher also shared the recent SK-II ad about leftover women on which she worked as consultant. This ad went viral thanks to its message that these educated, unmarried young women should be valued for all they had to offer society. 

She then opened up the floor to questions, and there were a lot! The topic of Leftover Women was something that everyone wanted to discuss.