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culture shockers: Abort your daughter now, save on a dowery later – A look at gendercide in China and India

February 3, 2011

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.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2011 12:03 pm

    great thanks to u for writing such an article ………and for sure we desperately need to do something in this area ? here i would like to say one thing that i can sense the change in mood in cities…..but rural India still emphasizing on boy child and they are the real contributer to the national census …..thanks again

  2. Isabella permalink
    May 12, 2020 12:59 am

    I recognize this article is from 2011, but I was wondering how much of this is still going on? Is there anyone I can virtually chat with or ask questions to get more information about this topic? Thank you for the lovely article!

    • August 20, 2020 2:53 am

      Isabella, have you seen the last post regarding the sad news about Mitu?

      I can tell you that this does still happen, to what extent I do not know since I’ve not been actively researching it for the last year or so. There are some groups in India related to female feoticide / genocide that could provide you with more up to date, accurate information. Thank you for your concern.

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