“A promising career is no better than a good husband.”  A survey conducted by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) showed that one-third of both male and female respondents agreed with this saying, with the women giving a more affirmative response than the men. (Source: http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=105#02)  I am not sure how old this survey is nor if the chosen respondents were representative of the entire population and not just a certain and small demographic, but current Chinese dating trends do not seem consistent with this particular survey result.

The women of China began to explore the education and employment opportunities available to them at the beginning of the 20th century.  During those times, they were still only limited to what was available to them locally.  Many women who chose to pursue education only got as far as what their parents would allow based on what they considered the girls needed to become a suitable wife and mother.  Those who chose to work were mostly limited to menial jobs, they had to juggle work and full-time care of their family, and were paid very low wages.  Even when the status of women then was supposed to have been elevated, this supposed elevation in status remained more of a concept than a reality.  A woman was still expected to be submissive to the men in the family and completely dependent on her husband.

When the government allowed more people from rural areas to migrate to the cities, many women took advantage of this opportunity to get higher levels of education and better employment, even real careers.  Given these opportunities combined with increased western influence on modern Chinese society, the attitude of women toward themselves changed when they realized what they can do on their own and that they need not settle down right away and be completely dependent on a husband.  They began to realize that a promising career can be better than a husband.

As age-old beliefs and norms go, many traditional concepts still persist in modern-day China and men, especially, still hold a low opinion of women; many modern women also still find it hard to go against the traditional expectations that their society still has of them.  Perhaps compared to the entire female population, of marriageable age, of China, the number of women who has started to have a change in attitude about a woman’s role in society and in marriage may not be substantial, but this number will only continue to grow.

Given the recent boom in the Chinese online dating industry, single women of China who have been more focused on their careers and have not had much time for socializing, much less to engage in an active search for a life partner, are now given an easier means to interact with the opposite sex.  Numerous Chinese dating sites which also allow membership of foreign men have made these successful Chinese women aware that there are men out there who will value them and be proud of them for their achievements.  In this sense, they have also realized that having a good career is a valuable asset because it is a reflection of their worth as an independent and a strong-willed woman.

Chinese dating sites have not only served the purpose of finding a partner easier for the millions of singles of China; they have also unwittingly helped many successful women become more aware of their true value, through the admiration and respect that men from other cultures have been showing them.