From Eurasia Review, April 14, come the “grim” results of the 2011 census. I’ve excerpted the lowlights.
Notice the push for population control – lowered family size – has only worsened the plight of women. Also note that greater wealth and education surprisingly add their demise. Also note sex trafficking, “bridetrafficking,” and sex crimes against women increase as their numbers decrease.
Finally, note national and regional security is threatened by the imbalance of girls to boys, creating a more “volatile” (higher testosteroned) society. Not mentioned is extra men are well-suited to join or be drafted into country’s armed forces. Countries with normal female/male balances can not possibly compete.
India’s already skewed infant sex ratio is getting worse. India counted only 914 girls aged six and under for every 1,000 boys…. This sex ratio is the worst in the recorded history of the modern Indian.
According to 1991 census, the 0-6 sex ratio was 934 girls to 1,000 boys, which decline to 927 as per 2001 census. Nature provides that slightly more boys are born than girls: the normal sex ratio for children aged 0-6 is about 952 girls per 1,000 boys….
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, which has been deteriorating rapidly….
And such imbalances are not confined to India. 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….
More worrying, places that used not to discriminate in favour of sons… have begun to do so. Economic success seems to spread son preference to places that were once more neutral….
Indeed, as the average family size drops in India, the preference for sons only intensifies. It is sons who inherit land, pass on the family name, financially provide for parents in old age and perform rituals for deceased parents.
Daughters, on the other hand, will cost the family dearly at the time of their marriage, with a dowry at times costing as much as a family makes in a year….
As a result, it becomes tantamount to having a serious birth defect in the minds of Indian parents, with genuine sentiment for their daughters giving way to a stifling economic calculus….
In the area dubbed the “Bermuda Triangle for girls” in India, some districts register only 774 little girls for every 1,000 boys….
The impact on Indian society is grim. One might have thought that scarcity would lead to girls being valued more highly, but this is not happening….
If we compare the number of girls actually born to the number that would have been born had a normal sex ratio prevailed, then 600,000 Indian girls go missing every year. This is less distorted than the sex ratio in China….
The states with the worst sex ratios… are among the richest, which suggests distorted sex selection will not be corrected just by wealth or government policy….
Parents choose to abort female fetuses not because they do not want or love their daughters, but because they feel they must have sons (usually for social reasons); they also want smaller families – and something has to give. Ultrasound technology ensures that this something is a generation of unborn daughters….. Sex selection therefore tends to increase with education and income: wealthier, better educated people are more likely to want fewer children and can more easily afford the scans- disastrous for the nation.
The “missing girls” are usually aborted, shortly after the parents learn of their sex….
A skewed sex ratio may instead be making the lot of women worse. Robbery, rape and bridetrafficking tend to increase in any society with large groups of young single men. And men in higher-up social ladder find wives more easily than those of lower-down, the social problems of bachelorhood tend to accumulate like silt among the poorest people and the lowest castes. This is unjust as well as damaging. Moreover, there are reports of unknown numbers of girls who are drugged, beaten and sometimes killed by traffickers…. The poor are forced into a long or permanent bachelorhood…. Poor bachelors are often victims of violent crime.
Many Western countries portrayed India as Asia’s great hope, and India’s growth as a global power will counter balance China’s rise and ensure that rise remains peaceful. Indeed, the U.S. has identified India as a crucial partner for the coming century…. Washington has even pledged to help India develop its nuclear energy capabilities. But the continued disappearance of India’s women and girls is putting the future of India’s security partnership with the West at risk.
Even in March 2010; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that “the subjugation of women is a direct threat to the security of the United States.” In fact, the security of states is closely linked to the security of women. If Clinton is right, then shouldn’t India’s dismal female-to-male ratio raise a red flag for American foreign policy?…
The daughter deficit will create a society that is much less stable and much more volatile than it would be with a more balanced ratio. The sustainability of peace and stability – for India and the region – will be progressively undermined in lockstep with the devaluation of India’s daughters.
[Top photo via Sikhnet.com]