Now women are more educated than men. They are less likely to be unemployed. They also live longer — by a decade on average.
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But by outpacing men, Mongolian women in the city, many of whom stayed on after university to work, struggle to find partners the way their parents did. The marriage rate in Ulaanbaatar has fallen to 8. Women in the city complain that there is a shortage of eligible men. In a way they are right.
The Most Pathetic Mongolian Men
At universities and in the workplace there are often far more women than men. These men are more likely to be taken: Mongolian women face the dual cultural pressures of establishing a career and getting married before the age of 29, preferably earlier. For women who are older, the calculation changes. She has tried dating events and having friends set her up.
She once visited a shaman. Recently, she decided to adjust her initially high standards. Many say the issue is a mismash of attitudes and expectations.
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Manduhai Tsogtbal, 32, an entrepreneur who runs an online translation services company, has been starting businesses since she was a student. While getting an MBA degree in the US, she bought the Thai restaurant where she had worked as a waitress and turned it into a more profitable sushi bar.
A survey released in March by the World Bank found Mongolian men in their 20s often described women as more ambitious than men, a trait they found unattractive. Some wondered why women invested so much in their education, given that it increased their risk of not being able to find a husband. Bulganchimeg Gantulga, 19, a university student studying political science, says men her age always catcall women who wear short skirts. She says these men, even her classmates, are often behind when it comes to gender and LGBT rights.
She is considering never marrying at all.
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Thousands of men lost their jobs in the privatisation of state-owned companies in the s, as Mongolia transitioned from a communist system, and they still have not recovered. Mongolian food is never spicy, and it was a shock to Bataa.
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We married a year and a half later. Men and women are very equal in Mongolian society, though they have different, well-defined roles. Where nothingness really matters. How female breadwinners are 'losing out' in divorce. How the other half lives: Girls fall out of love with fairytale weddings. We moved to Britain in to be near my parents. I was surprised by how well Bataa adapted to British life. One thing Bataa does find difficult is Western consumerism. Nomads regularly pack up and move on, so too much stuff is an encumbrance.
Give Bataa the great outdoors over a shopping centre, any day — the natural world is in his bones. I work long hours in London, so he covers the school run with my parents. I am fully aware how lucky I am. They have a nine-month-old daughter, Freya, and live in Plymouth.
Jimmi and I met three years ago in Flares nightclub in Plymouth. Everything was magical until Jimmi received a letter from the Home Office saying his leave to remain had been refused. He was given weeks to leave the country. A month later I followed him to Iraq. I stayed for a year, and loved it. I bought a stack of them and still wear them in England. Kurdish women are scarily house-proud: They do everything around the house.
He has to accept it.
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We married in Iraq. Immediately, though, I felt homesick. So I came back to England, heavily pregnant, praying I could find a way to get Jimmi back here. But he hates how much Brits swear.
Mongolian Men Are Losers, Proof Inside
Antonia Windsor, 36, is an actor and journalist. She lives in east London with her husband, Shyne Phiri, 41, a Zimbabwean choreographer. Their daughter, Zayla Malaika, was born in April. Shyne and I met in Malawi in , working on a touring theatre project about the Zimbabwean crisis. For a break on our tour, we went to a music festival and all shared tents.
For the rest of the festival, I stayed with him. After a couple of months in London I bought a ticket back to Malawi. Within a day of being reunited I suggested we get married. However, that same night I ran into his ex-wife. An everyday incident in Africa, the death of a child. I recall my tears falling on to piles of frustrating paperwork. Shyne arrived in Britain in June We married a few months later on my home island of Jersey.