Sheng nu (剩女; shèngnǚ; common translation: "leftover women" or "leftover ladies") is a derogatory term made popular by the All-China Women's Federation that classifies women who remain unmarried in their late twenties and beyond.The term has gone on to become widely used in the mainstream media and has been the subject of several televisions series, magazine and newspaper articles, and book publications focusing on both the good and bad aspects of the term and surrounding culture.Other similar terms that are still used in the modern lexicon of other countries and cultures show the concept has existed in some cases as far back as the 16th century.
Experts have further theorized about the term's longevity as the National Population and Family Planning Commission has been moving towards phasing out the one-child policy in favour of an "appropriate and scientific family planning policy (one-child policy)" where the child limit may be increased.
He Feng in The China Daily points out, "the sheng nu phenomenon is nothing like the feminist movement in the West, in which women consciously demanded equal rights in jobs and strived for independence." In an article by the South China Morning Post, it concludes, "with mounting pressure and dwindling hopes of fulfilling both career and personal ambitions at home, for women such as Xu the urge to pack up and leave only grows stronger with time.
According to The New York Times, the State Council of the People's Republic of China (Central People's Government) issued an "edict" in 2007 regarding the Population and Family Planning Program (one-child-policy) to address the urgent gender imbalance and cited it as a major "threat to social stability".
The council further cited "upgrading population quality (suzhi)" as one of its primary goals and appointed the All-China Women's Federation, a state agency established in 1949 to "protect women's rights and interests", to oversee and resolve the issue.
The China Daily published an article that cited figures from the 2012 United Nations' World Marriage Data which reported 38% of women in the United States, and more than 50% of women in Britain remained unmarried in their 30s.
International poster for Will You Marry Me and My Family, a 2010 Chinese urban comedy/drama television series that portrays a career woman in her thirties whose family is frantically searching for a prospective spouse for her.The main finding of the study found that contrary to the popular belief that highly educated and single women remain unmarried, or do not want to take on traditional roles in marriage, because of personal preference, that in contrast, they commonly have an appetite for marriage and that their main obstacle is traditional patriarchal attitudes.The study also pointed out that in other Asian countries such as Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, where women have been receiving a higher education, that correspondingly, the average age of marriage amongst them is much higher.The man took a series of pictures on June 24, 2003.The photographer was granted access to Ma Qingxiu, Li Juhua, Dai Donggui and He Xiuling from 9pm until 7.21 am the next morning.Without women such as her, though, the mainland will be left with not only a weaker economy, but an even greater pool of frustrated leftover men." In the Graduate Mothers Scheme, Lee also introduced incentives such as tax rebates, schooling, and housing priorities for graduate mothers who had three or four children, in a reversal of the over-successful 'Stop-at-Two' family planning campaign in the 1960s and 1970s.