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“Gendercide” in India, revisited

Posted by: Annie Voy | April 5, 2011 | 14 Comments |

Here’s an interesting post from the Economist blog revisiting the issue of Gendercide in India:

Where have India’s baby girls gone?

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Responses -

This topic has been a major area of concern for the governments of China and India, yet it still happens to be a problem. So either the cultural aspect of it is so powerful that nothing can change this outcome or the governments are not doing enough to prevent this from happening.

I found it interesting when “Last year the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences warned that by 2020 one in five young Chinese men would be unable to find a bride because of the dearth of young women.” This makes it seem as though Chinese men can only marry Chinese women, while culturally this is most likely the practice, but there are other options out there.

Secondly, the graph showed an decrease in the population of girls aged 0-6 and worldwide this is true with 107 boys being born to every 100 girls, but worldwide it is still 101 total males to total females.

Finally, I feel that there will be an evening out effect where in India and China it is very important to have a boy now, but in the future when there are no girls there will be a cultural shift towards girls being more important to have especially with the empowerment, education, and advancement of women globally.

“A cultural preference for sons and the increasing availability of prenatal screening to determine a baby’s sex have helped contribute to a worsening in the ratio (from 927 in the previous census in 2001), which has been deteriorating rapidly even as the ratio for the population as a whole has improved.” As I think back to the original article we read for class (the Gendercide article), one reason for this imbalance still seems correct. Since there are more males than females right now, in a few decades (when people would want to marry), the thought of a dowry from the bride might force the males to produce the dowry (and not the females) and end the tradition of the bride offering the dowry.

India is a developing economy on the rise. It is a highly educated society with a rising middle class but the gendercide occurring within its borders points to a society still partially stuck in the past. A portion of the population still live in poverty where the gendercide occurs prominently. If India ever wants to truly move up the economic ladder a well-balanced population is needed. Women can be a contributing factor of success for any country.

If the trend continues this way, I wonder what will happen to the cultural values in India and China that are helping to cause this trend. Eventually, they will have to realize that girls are necessary for population growth, and the trend will have to be reversed. In India this will most likely have to mean the end of the dowry, which is a large part of the culture. Unfortunately recovering from these numbers will take a long time and there will be many generations that have very skewed numbers and face a lot of problems.

I find this article to be so disturbing/sad! The hypothesis that, by 2020, 1 out of 5 Chinese men won’t be able to find a wife is so odd to imagine. Looking at it from a woman’s viewpoint, I think that women are going to feel pressured to get married. The ‘competition’ that will arise between males leaves little room for those women who don’t want to get married, although I’m not sure if that is acceptable in their culture. As the first gendercide article brought up, violence will/has already risen, and I have no doubt that it will continue (unfortunately) far into the future. I’m also left wondering if having a ‘one-child’ policy will be beneficial for India, or if it will make gendercide worse off.

This is a very disturbing trend that I find myself to have some strong opinions about. First of all, I think that it is very sad that women are even driven to go to such extremes. I can’t even image the emotional distress a woman goes through having an abortion when they are only a few weeks along yet alone months along! I feel sad for these women because I am sure that they don’t want to abort these female babies but they feel as if they have to. I also believe that though the procedure may be “illegal” I don’t think that they enforce it properly which I believe may have something to do with the people (males!?) responsible for enforcing the law.

On another note, in the Spokesman Review yesterday there was an article about Idaho abortion laws. The article mentioned that with the passing of their new law that it will be illegal for women to have an abortion if they are 20 weeks or further along!! (which is about as far along as the women in India and China are when they are aborting their female babies!) I was not aware that was legal anywhere in the US.

I find this article to be very troubling and sickening. This not a simple matter that the government can just implement a law and hope for this gendercide to stop. Rather, this is a cultural problem that needs to change and evolve. It amazes me how cultures to this day treat women as if they are still inferior to men. This patriarchal mindset is present even in the American culture, it is just not taken to this extreme. I think the biggest fear the Chinese and Indian cultures are facing is that they think their cultural identity will be partially lost if they start accepting women as equals to men. Just because this has been the way these cultures have been for centuries, does not mean it is the right way or the way it should be.

This situation is scary. I think in order to stop it we have to look to the governments. Yet the governments have obviously failed in preventing these situations. I fell that for China in particular that their child limitations make it easier for parents to say they want a boy since they only get to have one child. So in this sense I feel that China’s attempt to halt a growing population is leading to more sex selection and gendercide. The problem of genercide cannot solely be pinned on the government, Society is to blame. Society as a whole is dominated by males, women are considered second tier citizens so why would a set of parents want to have a girl over a boy? In order to stop gendercide there needs to be fundamental change in the way that these countries think, I just do not see that happening. I feel that this is a problem that has exponential ramifications, as society has more and more males in proportion to females male dominance of society will only grow and therefore providing more incentive for parents to wait to have a boy instead of a girl. The problem needs to be stopped before it worsens, the governments need to crack down on the shady abortion doctors and stiffen the punishments of those found performing illegal abortions.

i completely agree with Emily’s comments. A problem like this is extremely hard to stop. This is not an issue that can be stopped with the help of aid money or government intervention. this notion of gendercide is so deeply ingrained in India’s culture means that this problem might not get better for decades or centuries to come. the level of importance that is placed on young males within the household dominates any notion of wanting to have a young girl.

Until the culture of India changes, this problem will not get any better and it might get even worse.

The fact that the gap between girls and boys age 0 to 6 is widening is not really that surprising. It is based in the cultural beliefs of India. Until the beliefs and customs in India change the gap will most likely keep increasing. Especially with the increases in new technology. The sooner parents can find out what gender their child will be the more time they have to effectively abort the child if it is not their preferred gender. The fact at the end of the article was pretty interesting regarding Chinese males. It is sad that it is getting to the point where these children will have extreme difficulty finding a bride when they grow up.

This is clearly proof that more should be done in places like India to discourage or even outlaw the abortion of a fetus because of the gender. I can’t believe that there are 914 girls aged 0-6 years old for every 1,000 boys of the same age. Although their society embraces the cultural norm of high masculinity, innovation into a more gender-accepting world should be promoted. It is saddening to know that it is likely for Chinese men to be bride less due to the lack of brides available. I believe that these societies will suffer greatly for their actions now.

This could be a serious problem – I think a lot more serious than some people might realize. At the rate that the gender gap is increasing, at some point the government has to just put an outright ban on prenatal screening and strictly regulate it. I know that the problem goes a lot further than just that, but I feel like that is the first step towards correcting it. It is frightening to think of some men literally not being able to find a woman to marry. I can’t imagine the sorts of problems this could lead to.

This article reminds of a conversation I had with my dad about a month ago. We talked about the perceptions that my generation and those who follow will encounter major problems in the coming years due to birth rates. My dad used the example of Japan and how there’s a massive shortage in the amount of infants and young children in the country as a result of population control. Similarly, this is the result in China as we once read in a previous article about “gendercide”. I think the numbers are deceiving. I’ve asked some of my peers what they think of the matter and they didn’t seem to feel that it was much of a concern because the number of girls was still “in the 900’s”. However, the destruction of a particular sex will reap, in my mind, unimaginable outcomes. With countries such as China and India that are so densely popluated we’re talking about a slow mass extinction of a human race. Like I said, it’s not that serious at this point, but if the elimination of girls continues to grow in these countries, we will eventually see a rapid decline in population growth.

It is definitely sad to see the situation of gendercide worsening today. As the situation becomes more and more exposed by the media, one would hope that gendercide would begin to decrease. However, after watching the documentaries in class explaining the reasons parents chose to abort their daughters, I believe more has to be done. Parents in India simply don’t believe they can support daughters due to large dowry payments. Parents in China feel a son is more valuable since he will stay in the family and support them when they are old. These are the reasons parents in China and India are aborting baby girls, and since their reasoning is purely financial, I believe educating these parents on the importance of raising girls would be the most beneficial strategy of ending gendercide. It is a touchy issue since either a change of culture or mindset is required in order to end the financial burden of having girls. However, I don’t believe any mother ever happily agrees to aborting a baby due to its sex. The key to solving this issue is to promote women’s rights. Girls in India need to be able to marry whom they choose without having to pay a dowry, and girls in China need the opportunity to be the ones who can marry and still take care of their parents.