India's Worsening Gender Imbalance

Photo: iStockphoto

We’ve written a lot about gender on this blog, and the preference for boys over girls has been a hallmark of Asian societies for centuries. This has led to large gender imbalances across much of Asia, particularly in China and India. In China, there are 119 boys born for every 100 girls. According to India’s recently completed census, among children six and under, there are only 914 girls counted for every 1,000 boys.

Natural sex rates lead to a more even sex ratio at birth, suggesting gendercide, i.e. that female fetuses are being aborted. China’s one-child policy has also exacerbated the problem since it was implemented in 1980. But while the gender imbalance has stabilized in China, it’s widening in India, and is at its worst since record-keeping began in 1947.

Harvard economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen was one of the first to bring serious attention to this issue in the early 1990s. Today, researchers are worried that large swaths of unmarried men from China’s most rural provinces, where gender imbalances are the greatest, will be a heavy burden on social security as they age. There is also concern that gender imbalance drives prostitution and human trafficking.

Despite a ban on ultra-sounds for the sole purpose of determining a fetus’s sex, in India the problem is spreading, and it is now the richest provinces that have the largest imbalances. As The Economist points out: “If sex ratios stay the same, 600,000 missing girls this year will become, in 18 years’ time, over 10m missing future brides.”




these people don't just kill their babies for kicks. they grow up seeing their 12yr old sisters and girl friends dying in child birth, seeing 14yr old girls being bashed for shitting themselves because no one helped them give birth and their baby died and the pressure of its dead body sitting inside the mother for 3-4days until it decomposed tore holes in her bowel. they see men replacing their dead brides like a light bulb, and throwing out their brides who can't give birth to a live healthy baby first time like an old pair of shoes. in india if you can't give your husband a live baby you're useless. this isn't just india and china either. in vietnam i worked as a volunteer teacher. one of the male teachers was single one day and married the next week. he didn't love this woman or court her or make her promises to respect her and be loyal. she knew she would spend her life serving this man, she would have his babies and cook, clean, carry heavy things, work and he would sit back and take it easy because he was a man. when you grow up in a world where being a women is pain, misery, hard work and dangerous i can understand why you wouldn't want to mother a girl. its sickening and saddening to us because we know it doesn't need to be that way, but sitting behind a computer bitching about it isn't helping them. donate books, medical supplies, clothes, time, services, share your education. go help them.



Maybe this can turn out to be a good thing. I'm not favoring the methods by way the gender imbalance came about, or the gender that is being favored here, but in a region this densely populated(over half the worlds population in all of asia) this could be the way to stabilize the areas population


Sadly, the gender imbalance is contributing to the epidemic of rapes, gang rapes and kidnapping of girls and young women in India (and probably in China as well).


There is NO epidemic of rapes it is just that it is now becoming more mainstream to openly discuss something that has gone on for years. Men abusing women will only be stopped when a society decides men that do this need severe criminal sanctions not being allowed to justify it by suggesting the woman was a fault for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Besides which rape is a crime of power and control not sexual frustration. Any man can handle that himself with Mrs Palm and her five lovely daughters. And there are many prostitutes who also offer similar services.


This is surely fantastic news. The last thing this planet needs is more humans. Anything either accidental or intentional that makes this happen is a good thing. It also means that being a gay male and thus finding companionship may become more acceptable in parts of the World where it currently is not.