In October 2018 and January March 2019, we collected detailed data in the Civil Affairs Bureau, organization department, Personnel Bureau, Youth League Committee, womens Federation, Education Bureau, Health Bureau and other departments of D county. The results show that there are a large number of unmarried women over 30 years old in the county, which is commonly referred to as leftover women. However, the left over women in the county have obvious system characteristics, mainly in the county and township party and government organs and institutions. Generally speaking, the leftover women in the county are mainly those who take salary and have work units, and belong to the personnel in the system with establishment (mainly refers to the personnel in the civil service establishment and the institution establishment). According to our investigation in D county and cases from other counties in the central region, most of the unmarried women in the county were born between 1984 and 1989, that is, between 30 and 35 years old. We have made detailed statistics on the number of people recruited in D county since 2008 according to this age group. As shown in Table 1:
Table 1 shows that since 2008, 2993 people have been recruited in D County, of which 1895 are women, accounting for 63.3% of the total. Among them, 248 are unmarried women over the age of 30, accounting for 13.1% of the total. In the total number of recruits since 2008, the education system has the largest number of 1508, including 1209 female teachers, accounting for 80.1%, while 175 unmarried female teachers over 30 years old, accounting for 70.6% of unmarried women over 30 years old in the county. This means that among the female teachers who started to work in 2008, there are 175 unmarried teachers who are only over 30 years old, accounting for 14.5%. The proportion of men and women is less than that of the education system. Of the 493 people, 64.3% are women (mostly nurses). Among them, 35 are unmarried women over the age of 30, accounting for 11.0% of the number of women working in the system since 2008. In addition to these two systems, there is no obvious phenomenon that women are more than men in other institutions (mainly county and township party and government institutions). On the contrary, women only account for 37.8% of the total number, but there are still 38 unmarried women over 30 years old, accounting for 10.0% of the total number of women.
Female teachers are the main body of left over women in the county
According to our experience of living and working in the county, female teachers in primary and secondary schools have always been high-quality resources in the marriage market due to their professional characteristics (with culture, holidays, and advantages for the next generation of Education), and their marriage partners are generally male youth with work units in the county. For example, when we were in middle school (around 2000), unmarried female teachers were very popular. There were many excellent men in the system for them to choose from. On the contrary, the spouses of male teachers in primary and secondary schools at that time were almost all women outside the system who had no work unit. For example, many of our male teachers spouses are beautiful women (such as barbers, tailors, self-employed people, etc.) who come from rural areas and have skills.
Our investigation in D county also found that most of the male teachers in primary and secondary schools, even some male township cadres born in the 1970s, their spouses are women outside the system who have no formal work. In other words, in the County marriage market, there is almost no remaining phenomenon of women in the system born in the 1970s. On the contrary, they were the active selectors in the marriage market. In the words of one of our interviewees, at that time, the worst female teachers were also married male teachers. Most of them were young men who chose good units (high social status and income, county families), such as the children of cadres who were born in the county and had good family conditions, or the party and government organs who were born in the countryside but had a promising future. Department, or public security and law cadres with high income and convenient work.
Why do the female teachers become the weak group in the County marriage market? The data in Table 1 shows that one of the main reasons why female teachers are left behind is that there are more women than men in the teacher group. In County D, 63% of the employees were women, and 80% of them were women. This shows that the profession of teacher is no longer attractive to the post-80s and post-90s male youth. There are about 200 teachers in the two best urban primary schools in D County, but only eight male teachers were born after 1980. The mainstream of male teachers in primary and secondary schools in D county is still the normal college students born in 1960s and 1970s. This also shows that since the market-oriented reform of higher education in the 1990s, few men have entered the primary education system of the underdeveloped counties in the central region.
As one of our interviewees said, now all the outstanding young men have gone to big cities, and those who come back to small counties are very common. Most of the young people who come back to small counties to be primary school teachers cant get along outside. Our later investigation in the Personnel Bureau of D county also confirmed that since 2008, there are few graduates from one college, most of them are from general colleges below two. For example, in a teacher recruitment test in D County in 2018, of the 100 candidates registered (more than 60 girls and more than 30 boys), only 7 boys entered the interview, and finally only 3 PE teachers were admitted. The cadre in charge of the examination said that in the absence of male teachers in general, as long as the male students enter the interview, the employer will generally consider admission, but the four male students who enter the interview are too bad to be afraid of mistaking their children.
According to common sense, there are not many young female civil servants in the county, which should be the dominant group in the marriage market. However, as shown in Table 1, there are nearly 40 unmarried women over the age of 30 in the government staff of D county since 2008. If the age is set at 28, the number is more (in fact, in small county, if the females virtual age reaches 28, they are all considered as unmarried women of older age). In the interview, we found that compared with Township female civil servants, county female civil servants have more advantages in choosing spouse, but most of the county government agencies and institutions have the phenomenon of leftover women. Nearly half of these older unmarried women are deputy section level cadres, and the trend is increasing year by year.
The first reason is that the 27 year old has no age advantage in the small county. The second reason is that there are more women of suitable age in all aspects of the township. Male civil servants will first choose female civil servants working in the county. In 2012, when 30-year-old g was promoted as secretary of the township Discipline Inspection Commission, it was more difficult to find the right object. Ms. g originally thought that it would be better to get rid of the identity of rural primary school teachers, but the reality is that when she became a township civil servant, she found that there were many unmarried girls of older age in the township. Therefore, to be a leading cadre in a township increases the probability of being left behind because of the lack of age advantage. As the county level is relatively low, the section level cadres belong to the leading cadres in the county system, and are the main group of the county system.
The case of G shows that another reason why women in the county system are easy to become leftover women is the concept of choosing spouse in the system, and with the rise of womens position and identity in the system, their vision and standards of choosing spouse are higher and higher. As Ms. w said, I am a civil servant and want to find a civil servant. If you look for someone who is not a civil servant or outside the system, it feels like marrying down. However, there are no large-scale state-owned enterprises, universities, industry and commerce, banks and other institutions in the underdeveloped central county. Civil servants and primary and secondary school teachers are the main members of the system. In the case of more women and less men in the teaching staff, there are not many men in the school-age system available for female civil servants to choose.
Case 2: Ms. W, born in 1988, is a deputy director of a bureau. She has good family conditions. After graduating from University, she passed the civil service examination and entered the county government office as the leading secretary. They started dating soon after they started working, but they didnt succeed. Men with good conditions shake their heads as soon as they hear that they are working in the government. They feel that this job is not at home. They work overtime every day, and they have to go on business frequently. After promotion, there are fewer excellent boys. I cant see it myself. In a word, a little bit better has also become a family, and excellent men have gone out.
Ms. ws case also reflects another significant characteristic of unmarried women of older age in the county: the more excellent women are in the county, the more likely they are to become leftover women. We found in the survey that, like Ms. W, women who graduated from University, have good family conditions and strong working ability also have high standards of mate selection, and generally want to find men with equal conditions and stronger abilities. But as w said, there are not many good boys in small places.
The graduates born after 1980 happened to be the group who no longer distribute work after the market-oriented reform of higher education. Most of the male college students of the same era went to big cities to fight, only those who cant get along outside can go back to small counties. The rate of female college students returning to the county is higher than that of male college students, which is mainly due to different expectations and positioning of boys and girls (most of them are only girls). Once women are over 30 years old, they lose the age advantage of choosing spouse. Therefore, the most outstanding group of women in the county - female civil servants and female cadres are more and more. In contrast to the difficulty of choosing a good girls mate, even the system man of the right age in the county, doesnt need to worry about finding a mate.
Case 3: Mr. g, a rural primary school teacher, was born in 1990. He is short, looks very average, and speaks a little sissy. His family is in the county, and the family conditions are general. G said, my biggest worry at present is that I dont know which girl to choose as my girlfriend. Because one of my female colleagues often comes to play with me, helping me to take lessons, make meals and deliver fruits; a female cadre in the township often calls to ask me for a walk; and a female nurse in the township health center also says that she likes me, and the person is beautiful. So, I really dont know which one to choose, which one to worry about. If the appearance is normal, the unmarried men with good working unit system will be particularly popular. If the institutional male is a foreign youth, it is more popular, because one son-in-law and half a child, the foreign youth is equivalent to a white pick-up son for the local female parents.
Case 4: man B, deputy section level cadre of the county Procuratorate, born in 1988, 1.75 in height, good-looking, outsider, has bought a house in the county. No sooner had B entered the procuratorate than someone introduced him. Like him, good unit, good personal conditions, and when he became a small leader, and is a stranger, only when looking for the object of his pick. So he knows all the right age girls in the county. If a girls name is given, he will know her appearance, her parents occupation, rank and other family conditions.
The case of G and B further presents the dilemma of choosing spouse of unmarried system women in the county. As mentioned above, the main reason is that the number of young men working in small counties is not only less than that of young women, but also their personal quality is generally lower than that of women of the same age.
Under the background of the limited number of male civil servants of school age, and the desire of female civil servants want to find civil servants, male civil servants are willing to choose excellent female teachers, county female civil servants of school age are prone to more and more phenomenon.
The talent dilemma behind the left over women in the county
Young talents are the core elements and driving force to promote county development. However, talent cannot be introduced, recruited or retained has been the main factor restricting the county development in underdeveloped areas. The phenomenon of leftover women in the system in counties is related to the flow of young talents in underdeveloped areas. The outflow of a large number of outstanding young talents leads to the imbalance of the structure of young talents in these areas, the low quality of young talents and the imbalance of the proportion of young talents between men and women in the system.
The age structure of county human resources is mainly composed of groups born after 60, 70, 80 and 90 years. However, some of the groups born in 60 and 70 years have stepped into the core leadership of the county (cadres at or above the department level), and most of them are senior people who can put their qualifications and do nothing. As a result, the 80s and 90s young people have become the main force of county government operation, undertaking the most basic and hard work at the grass-roots level. But as D county shows, these young main forces are composed of more than 60% women, which means that the main work of the grass-roots front line needs to be completed by young women.
For example, the Youth League Committee of county D is all of the post-80s, but except that the Secretary of the League Committee is male, the rest are all women, including two who have just had a second child and one pregnant. The daily work of the League Committee mainly relies on one unmarried female cadre born in 1992. But this female cadre is very worried about becoming a leftover woman, because only work time, no work time. This also reflects another kind of production logic of leftover women: the more unmarried they are, the more jobs they undertake; the more jobs they have, the less time they have to find a partner.
A young teacher interviewed described that young teachers in the county did not pay much attention to teaching. They usually never read books, study or prepare lessons, but play mahjong, play and play drama.
Similar to the young teachers in the county, there are also doctors in the county. In a doctor recruitment test in D County in 2018, the scores of clinicians shortlisted were only 19.5 (full score 100). D county cadres said to themselves, is this a call for doctors or butchers? The dilemma of human resources in central and western counties lies in that, on the one hand, no excellent talents can be recruited, on the other hand, relatively excellent and outstanding young people have passed all kinds of examinations and left the county. For example, in D County, young doctors, young teachers and civil servants are admitted to provincial and municipal units or flow to coastal areas every year. Although the best high schools in D county can return a small number of graduates from the Provincial Normal University every year through targeted training, most of them quit when the contract expires and go to the coastal areas.
However, contrary to the frequent career mobility of the leftover women in beishangguang, the women who choose to return to the small county just choose stability, so why do they also remain? In this paper, the author holds that in the system of remote counties, the left over women are willing to actively look for their spouses. The theory of gradient selection still dominates womens view of mate selection subjectively. The vast majority of women are unwilling to marry to men outside the system, while the majority of outstanding young men are unwilling to return to work in small counties and cities, which leads to the fact that the number of men of suitable age in the county system is less than that in the system, thus the county appears. In the system, men are hot cakes, and women are more and more left.
This paper finds out the problem of young talents behind the phenomenon of leftover women in the county system, and believes that optimizing the talent structure in the county is not only conducive to solving the problem of leftover women, but also conducive to the development of the county, especially in the development of public services such as education and medical care.
However, according to the authors research in the central and western counties in recent years, the work of young talents has hardly entered the vision of the county government. The work related to talent work in the fields of culture, education, health and so on is usually regarded as the non central work that is not easy to achieve political achievements, and is often in the charge of the deputy county head (either female, or non party personages or cadres on a temporary basis) at the bottom. The countys financial resources and energy are invested in the central work of investment attraction, land acquisition and demolition, urbanization construction, etc. Under the background of the lack and loss of talents, it will be difficult to get rid of the poverty and backwardness in the central and western counties if they still do not pay attention to the problem of young talents.
At present, some local governments have also made some efforts in optimizing the work of county talents, such as delegating the recruitment authority of career establishment to the County Personnel Bureau. Because the unified recruitment of the whole province is easy to lead to a large number of applicants from good areas and good departments, and no applicants from backward areas and weak departments. However, as a semi familiar society, once the county has the power of independent recruitment, it is easy to appear the phenomenon of match relationship and contact, which is still difficult to attract excellent talents back. Therefore, how to support talents in policy, how to introduce and retain young talents should be the central work of county governments in underdeveloped areas.
(the author is ouyangjing, associate professor, School of finance, taxation and public management, Jiangxi University of Finance and economics; Ma Haipeng is an undergraduate of the school of accounting, Jiangxi University of Finance and economics. This article was first published in China Youth Research, 10 issues in 2019. Surging news is authorized to publish.)