A new book says single women are tackling the problem of a lack of men in different ways, with mixed results.
Single and educated Kiwi women are confronting the New Zealand "man drought" in a variety of ways - including using mobile dating apps like Tinder - with mixed results, new research has found.
Author Hannah August spoke to 22 single, heterosexual women with tertiary qualifications, most of whom were in their 30s, for research for her new book No Country for Old Maids, out tomorrow.
According to the 2013 Census data, there were more than 60,000 more women between the ages of 25-49 living in the country than men.
A number of the women spoken to by Wellington-based Dr August told her they were unconcerned about whether they had children.
Several also said they would not change the way they dressed or presented themselves to "enhance their erotic capital".
When asked for a response if someone told her that unless she dressed or acted in a certain way, she would remain single, one respondent replied with: "I'd tell them to f*** off."
Almost all the women had used one or more online dating site, and many had also used Tinder. But their description of the experience included "awkward as hell" and "embarrassed".
One respondent said: "It's so trashy, I just hate it. Part of me is absolutely mortified that it has come to this, that I am having to shop for men on the internet."
Although some had had affairs with married men, many were strongly dismissive of the idea.
Like many interviewees, Diane, a 36-year-old Auckland property manager, said she had no need or desire for a man, and had stopped seeking one. She had a good income, owned her own home, and had a child from a previous relationship.
"The book arose from a conviction that we need to hear different voices talk about the New Zealand man drought, and that those voices must belong to a range of people in the demographic supposedly most affected by it," Dr August said.
"The voices ... belong to educated heterosexual women because the data implies that - in a country where educational 'assortative mating', like matching with like, still prevails - they are the group of women most likely to be affected by the man drought."
Given the sex ratio imbalance, age-gap couples are increasing, with more women partnering with younger men.
In 1986, the number of partnered 40- and 45-year-old men who had a female partner five years or more older was 3 per cent, but that more than doubled to 7 per cent in 2013.
The book will be sold online at $14.99 as part of the BWB Texts series, which are "short books on big subjects" by New Zealand writers.
"Much of the existing characterisation of the man drought overlooks the diversity of women's responses to it, and the way some of these responses challenge the cultural norms," Dr August says in her book.
Dr August has a PhD from King's College London and has been a Commonwealth Scholar - awarded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK - and a fellow of the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women. She has written for publications such as the Times Literary Supplement and New Zealand's Metro magazine.