Human Interest


China and India Face Vast Gender Imbalances

March 19, 2007 12:39 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The number of baby girls born in China and India is falling. China expects that by 2020 there will be 30 million more Chinese men than women in the country.

30 Second Summary

Both Indian and Chinese cultures have traditionally favored the birth of boys over girls.

Although the result of this cultural attitude is similar in both countries—a decrease in the birthrate of daughters—the social foundations of the “son preference” differs greatly for each nation.

In India, where the practice of dowry payments at marriage remains prevalent, daughters are often associated with economic debt. When combined with the country’s increasing economic growth and the resultant availability of ultrasound tests that allow parents to learn their child’s sex before birth, the result has been a proliferation of aborted female fetuses.

In China, the combination of strict population controls, and the traditional expectation that daughters will leave their families when married and care for their husband’s parents, has led many parents to either abort female fetuses or abandon their baby girls.

The problem looms darkly on China’s horizon, as experts brace for the social unrest that will accompany its growing gender disparity.

Some argue that the problem of gender imbalance isn’t restricted to China and India, but is a global issue. Similar debates have arisen in the United States, as gender selection procedures that allow parents to choose the sex of their child before birth grow more popular.




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