culture shockers: Abort your daughter now, save on a dowery later – A look at gendercide in China and India
What would you do if your husband forced you to get rid of your unborn child?
Like Dr. Mitu Khurana, an Indian woman featured on our Bell Bajao! blog who faced enormous pressure from her husband and extended family to abort her twin daughters. She held strong and ultimately remained determined to bring justice to the people that tried to force her into abortion.
In reading more about this, we learned that China’s current ratio of boys to girls is 123 boys per 100 girls, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). And although India does not report figures on sex-ratios at birth, the most accurate estimations report a similar ratio to that of China.
This is the result of “Gendercide,” a term that dates back to Mary Anne Warren’s 1985 book about the “implications of sex selection.” As an analogy to genocide, gendercide is defined as “the deliberate extermination of persons of a particular sex (or gender).” According to The Economist’s recent feature, “Gendercide: What happened to 100 million baby girls?” several factors have contributed to this dangerous trend.
China introduced its controversial one-child law in 1979. Families, now only allowed one child, tend to be adamant that he is a boy. With access to prenatal ultrasounds, they are able to abort each female fetus until they eventually produce a son. However, the one-child policy is not the whole story because China is not the only country with a skewed ratio. Other countries, such as India, who do not live under the one-child law still experience “the modern desire for smaller families,” which ultimately creates similar results. Often families need sons in order to perform hard physical labor to bring money home to support the family. Or they prefer a son so that he can pass on the family name. Furthermore, daughters often come with burdens, such as dowry payments.