More and more women in China are choosing to remain unmarried and childless, in direct contradiction to traditional cultural values, but such a choice is still fairly rare in a society where women are constantly told by the state media, family and friends that they will be miserable and lonely if they do not find a husband.
Chinese culture considers it a shame to be a “leftover woman”, official defined as an urban, educated woman over the age of 27 who is still single.
But some women are fighting back against this idea by completely rejecting marriage altogether.
Some women, having grown tired of the constant badgering by their families, have left their homes and moved to the larger cities to find jobs and live with female roommates.
One such woman who just received a sales job offer in Shanghai, said “Men are still thinking in the old ways, but women’s values have evolved. I feel very relaxed now.”
Another 32-year-old woman in Shanghai loves her new lifestyle where she enjoys a high income and often goes out with friends to concerts, movies and dinner.
She noted, “Where I grew up in Nanjing, I saw so many couples getting into big fights, and most of them seemed unhappy. Plus, so many men have affairs. My life in Shanghai now is very rich, why would I want to change it?”
Another issue that leads Chinese women to the decision to live a single lifestyle is that marriage in China does very little to protect a woman’s rights, as the law gives the wife virtually no recourse if her husband abuses her. The government has failed to come up with legislation to curb domestic violence against women.
Still another issue is the 2011 amended Marriage Law which severely set back women’s property rights. Most marital home deeds in China do not include the woman’s name, which means they have been largely shut out of the biggest accumulation of residential property wealth in history.
An increasing number of women believe that marriage benefits the husband, but doesn’t protect their rights. These women feel that the most rational choice is to simply stay single. Image/CNN