China's new gender economy

Mary Bergstrom
The Bergstrom Group

China's population gender imbalance is pushing young men towards more traditional roles, but is giving women greater leverage.


The predominance of boys in the Chinese birth population is having profound socio-economic effects on the country as a whole

There are many signs that the ground is shifting around China's gender order. Historically, preference for a son has been a foregone conclusion in China. Without an established social security system, a son was required to provide financial support and physical care for aging parents. A daughter was considered a short-term investment as she would inevitably grow up to marry and care for her husband's family.

When the country introduced its one-child policy in 1978, parents-to-be took measures to protect their future and ensure that their heir-apparent would be a son.