NüVoices Podcast Episode #112: Leta Hong Fincher on the 10th Anniversary Edition of her book, Leftover Women

When Leta Hong Fincher’s bookLeftover Women” was first published ten years ago, it was considered a seminal work on Chinese feminism. The book outlines the structural discrimination, wholly reinforced by the government, used to demonize educated women in their late twenties and early thirties who remain unmarried. A decade later, and with Xi’s continual reinforcement of patriarchal ideals and traditional family structures, the book is more pertinent than ever. 

This week on the podcast, host Jessie Lau speaks with Leta about why the book is still as relevant today and what has changed (for better and for worse) since the book was first published. Leta shares the book’s origin story and how she started researching ‘leftover women’ in the first place while pursuing a PhD at Tsinghua University. Jessie and Leta also discuss whether women in China are still facing the same immense pressure to settle down, get married, and have a family. Lastly, Leta outlines how she went about rewriting this latest edition and what topics she felt were important to include in the new preface. 


  • Leftover Women” – the special 10th anniversary edition is out now in all major bookstores

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About Leta Hong Fincher:

Leta Hong Fincher is an American writer, academic and journalist. Leta has worked as a journalist and has written for publications such as The New York Times, the Guardian, Washington Post, Dissent magazine, Ms. magazine, CNN, BBC and others. She is the first American to receive a PhD from Tsinghua University’s Department of Sociology in Beijing and also has a master’s degree from Stanford University. Leta is currently a research associate at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

About Jessie Lau:

Jessie Lau is a freelance journalist covering human rights, politics and culture from a transnational, feminist perspective. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Foreign Policy, CNN, The Economist and elsewhere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she’s now based in London and serves as editor and board member at NuVoices. Previously, she held reporting and producing roles at the BBC World Service, Channel 4 News, The Diplomat and South China Morning Post. She holds a MSc in International History from the London School of Economics, an LLM in International Relations from Peking University, and a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley.