A 37-year-old single woman surnamed Wei, from north China's coastal city Dalian, is satisfied with her unattached life.
As the boss of a company, Wei spends most of her time working with her employees.
"I don't worry about anything except my work," said Wei. "I enjoy spending my time with my employees."
Every weekend, Wei buys a bunch of flowers to decorate her big house of 120 square meters. By the end of a year, she spends over 10,000 RMB yuan (US$1,209) on new clothes.
Most of her spare time goes to reading, watching TV and listening to music. She may also stroll along the street, wearing fashionable revealing tops and nibbling away at a stick of sugarcoated fruit. Sometimes she may rush to the supermarket to purchase mangos on sale.
The carefree single woman may go on a road trip any time she wants or go climbing or swimming.
"I am no different from others except that I don't have to wash men's dirty stocks and babies' diapers," said Wei in a light tone.
In modern Chinese cities, the number of single women like Wei is increasing and the single life is being accepted by more women. An investigation by the Zero Investigation Company in six big cities showed that 82.79 percent of urban women accept the idea of the single life, and the percentage is as high as 89.94 among women with a higher educational background.
Society is giving women a more open environment to be independent, said Jiang Yongping, an expert with the All China Women's Federation. With economic development and the change of living mode, more and more women become independent of men. In the past, China had a saying for women that to marry is to live. However, now, with the rapid development of the Chinese economy, urban women have better education and work, and thus a better financial status.
Single women in their twenties or thirties, with high income but without the burden of family, have become a significant consumption market, which is named by some economists as the "single women economy". In Shanghai, house purchasing by single women is no longer a rare thing.
Women's clubs have emerged in some big cities. One such club in Hangzhou City in east China provides fashion information to its members and invites experts to conduct lectures. The members can go on road trips together and the spread of the Internet and TV media also infuses new elements into single women's lives.
More important, public opinion on women and marriage is changing. Many parents no longer condemn their daughters' choice of the single life, which was not accepted in the past.
A 34-year-old woman surnamed Lu, who works in the media, said she "does not feel any pressure about my single life, neither at home nor at work."
Last November, northeast China's Jilin Province issued a local regulation to protect single women's reproductive rights, which says that a childless single woman at the age of fertility is entitled to have a baby with the help of legal medical support.
Jiang Yongping said the increasing single women reflect the progress of our society. "However, they still have some regrets since they can not enjoy the family happiness," said Jiang.
Jiang expressed her belief that with more social attention to women, more Chinese women would find a better life.
(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2003)