Roseann Lake is The Economist’s Cuba Correspondent and was previously based in Beijing, China, where she became fascinated with the lives of 剩女 or “leftover women” – women who have failed to get married by their culturally imposed sell by date of 27. Inspired by this trailblazing population of Chinese women, they became the subject of her first book, Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower (WW Norton).
Contrary to what their unsavory label implies, Lake demonstrates how “leftovers” are the uncanny byproducts of the one-child policy, which led parents to educate their only daughters as if they were sons. Now a formidable force in the workforce and in society, they have significant implications for China’s economic and demographic future. From vertiginous skyscrapers to a cashless economy and almost entirely digital existence, she book chronicles a China that is evolving at a dizzying pace, but where the forces of tradition and deeply entrenched gender roles clash vigorously with a new social reality.
She splits her time between New York City and Havana.