Leftover Women follows three successful women -- Qiu Hua Mei, a lawyer; Xu Min, who works in public radio; and Gai Qi, an assistant college professor-- who, despite thriving careers, are labeled "leftover women," or sheng nu, a derogatory term for educated, professional women in their mid-20s and '30s who are not married.
With 30 million more men than women in China, a severe demographic imbalance resulting from the One Child Policy, social stability is under threat. As single women search for “Mr. Right,” they struggle to stay true to their personal and professional ambitions amid pressure from their families, friends, and a government that launched a state-sponsored campaign to stigmatize unwed women.
Xu Min’s parents spend their weekends at "marriage markets" looking for viable candidates. The eldest of the three women, Gai Qi challenges traditional views of relationships and marriage, and faces disapproval from a partner’s parents because of her age. Meanwhile, lawyer Qiu Hua Mei was the first in her village to get an education, yet her family sees her as a failure, and her pursuit of a partner seem futile after a crushing interview with a dating counselor who suggests she lower her standards.