According to new statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs in China, divorce rates have increased in that country for the 12th year in a row, with a 3.9% spike from last year. 2014 saw a total of 3.6 million divorced couples across China, even more than the 2.1 million documented U.S. marriages in the same year, According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts are attributing the rising Chinese divorce rate to a surge in female empowerment, which makes sense, considering two thirds of all divorce filings are made by women. Take, for example, Xiao Mei, 26, who only made it six months into her marriage before visiting Beijing’s Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau to apply for a divorce.
Xiao recalls, “The first time we went to the bureau, we were taken to a room where a staff member persuaded us not to make a hasty decision, so we went home. The second time we stepped into the building, my husband ran away. But I am still tired of the endless quarrels and cold war. We may finally divorce when the next fight comes.”
“The rise of the divorce rate showed that more women began to defend their rights to equality, which marks social progress,” commented Peng Xiaohui, a professor of sexology at the Central China Normal University. Divorce has long been stigmatized in China as representing failure, but it appears that attitudes are changing.
According to a marriage registrar in Jiangsu, “people regarded divorce as something humiliating… Now couples view marriage differently from their parents and they do not think that divorce is a bad choice.”
China isn’t the only place where women are taking back their power, with or without an attorney. Mainstream U.S. pop culture has seen a spike in celebrity divorces, from Khloe Kardashian’s split from Lamar Odom to Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck ending their 10 year nuptials.
Hopefully, they’ll all be better off.