Between Tradition and Modernity: “Leftover” Women in Shanghai

Talk by Yingchun Ji, Shanghai University

In recent years, single, educated women who are not yet married by their late 20s in China’s major cities have been increasingly castigated as “leftover” women. After more than 3 decades of rapid socioeconomic development, marriage remains near universal and early in China. In the meantime, there has been a resurgence of patriarchal traditions. Using semistructured interviews, in this qualitative research the author sought to understand the motivations of these women and their efforts to negotiate the contradictions regarding marriage formation and career development. Six themes emerged from the women’s narratives: (a) parental pressure, (b) a gender double standard of aging, (c) forced socioeconomic hypergamy, (d) the importance of compatible family backgrounds, (e) efforts to balance women’s independence with support for family and men, and (f) conflicting gender ideologies. The author contextualizes these themes by analyzing how women weave traditional expectations with modern life in a transitioning China, where tradition and modernity alternately clash and converge to constitute a somewhat uneasy mosaic society.

Dr. Yingchun Ji is the Eastern Scholar Professor at the School of Sociology and Political Science at the Shanghai University. Dr. Ji obtained her PhD degree in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MA in Sociology from the University of Victoria, and BA in Sociology from Nanjing University. She conducted her post-doctoral research at the School of Nursing at UNC-CH. Her research interests include social demography, family sociology and medical sociology.

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, Asia Pacific Center

Please upgrade to a browser that supports HTML5 audio or install Flash.

Audio MP3 Download Podcast


Transcript   * This might take a few seconds to load.

published icon

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2019