In 2007, The Chinese Ministry of Education officially recognized a new term for unmarried women with successful careers in their country: leftover ladies.
In Chinese cities, the number of single women with high-powered careers make up a large part of the population. In Beijing alone, they number half a million, according to a Xinhua News Agency report in 2009. In a country where the ratio of men to women in urban areas is so high -- 162 single men aged 27-to-34 for every 100 single women, according to a 2010 study by the Chinese Academy of Social Science -- why are the parents of these accomplished women trying so hard to land their daughters dates?
The issue is not quantity, but quality.
Wei Zhen is a fashion magazine editor who will turn 30 this year. After enduring many arranged dates, she says she has given up on finding a husband who has achieved a similar degree of success, and won't force herself into marriage: "Self-fulfillment is critical to my happiness. I'd rather not have to change my personality in order to accommodate a marriage," she says. Wei's mother has another opinion, calling her daughter "a tragedy of idealism."