Roseann Lake: Leftover in China

Monday February 19: 7:00PM 8:00PM

Buy a copy of Leftover in China or a $15 gift card in-store at the Strand's main floor registers or at the door to attend. This event will take place in the Rare Book Room on the Strand's 3rd floor, accessible via the main store elevator or the stairs and elevator next door at 826 Broadway.

For decades China had a one-child policy, a law that has only recently replaced with a two-child policy. While this eases some of the legal pressure on parents, the consequences have already become apparent throughout the country by creating a massive gender imbalance. It’s predicted that by the year 2020 there will be 20 million more adult men than women.

The minority of women raised during this time as only children were given the resources traditionally reserved for the males of the family: pressure to excel in studies, a higher education, and more career opportunities. While this seems to be a win for these women, it has also become a curse when it comes to marriage. Several women have decided to postpone marriage past the marriage cultural deadline of 25 years, some choosing never to marry at all. These women have come to be known as ‘leftovers’.

These ‘leftovers’ are well-educated and goal-oriented women who struggle to find partners in a society where gender roles insist on them to be domesticated housewives. The majority of single men are out in the rural areas, away from their home in the city, and the urban men want a traditional wife. What does that leave for these powerful women?

Part critique of China’s cultural structure, part portrait of the romantic travails of China’s trailblazing women and their well-meaning parents who are anxious to see their daughters succeed in traditional wedlock, Roseann Lake’s Leftover in China focuses on the lives of four individual women against a backdrop of playful anecdotes, hundreds of interviews, and rigorous historical and demographic research to show how these "leftovers" are the key to China’s future.

Join us in the Rare Book Room as Roseann shares her powerful and inspirational book in a conversation with Fusion's Isabelle Niu.

Roseann Lake is The Economist's Cuba correspondent. She was previously based in Beijing, where she spent five years working as a television reporter and journalist. Her China coverage has appeared in Foreign Policy, Time, The Atlantic, Salon and Vice, among other publications. She divides her time between New York City and Havana.

Isabelle Niu is a digital video producer at Fusion.

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