viernes, 15 de junio de 2012

Last Thoughts

I think one of the most potent and predominant things that I extracted from all my research was this: There isn't a single social or political issue in this world that could be considered simple. When observing a global issue, there are so many variables to consider, and from so many different sources. For example, it was extremely difficult to find a precise and accurate number of the "boys to girls born" ratio, because almost every different source had different statistics. Likewise, it was difficult to determine exactly how these women feel about the endless cycle of opression and sexism they continue to face. Some sources indicated that were incredibly distraught, and that many faced post-partum depression. Many others stated that the practice of gendercide and infanticide was so common, it effected them so minimally. It is incredibly difficult for one to even comprehend the complexity and the interconnection of everything. This principle both shocks and amazes me immensely.

miércoles, 13 de junio de 2012

What We Can Do

It is nearly impossible to create an absolute solution when addresssing this issue. Because nearly every single family in China is effected, and because the government is so stern with the "One Child Policy",  it is difficult to find a middle ground. The Chinese government has repeatedly stated that they will not remove the policy until 2050.  This means that, if not addressed, this will remain an issue for a very, very long duration of time.

One common misconception is that the most effective way of solving the gender imbalance would be to simply ban abortion. In this way, mothers would have to birth children, regardless of the gender of child they produced. But this plays such a small part in the overall picture. Yes, banning abortion could help. But the problem is, it wouldn't be effective until numerous other things changed. Likewise, banning abortion is an infringement against a woman's reproductive rights, or rather, her right to extract an unwanted child. So it is an incredibly "sticky" situation.

First and foremost... The value of women needs to be equalized to that of men. It can't be postphoned any longer. The Chinese society as a whole needs to acknowledge that women are just as capable as men to be important and contributing members of society. "The Economist" suggests a complete revolution of the integration of women into society. It states that the Chinese government would have to abolish all laws that prevent daughters from inheriting goods and property, get women engaged in all aspects of public life (getting women to work in anything from broadcasting to police work), and, of course, educate them. In this way, the views of the society will slowly but surely alter.

It is incredibly difficult to change something that is so far away from home. The most effective mode of change that anyone can participate in? Exposure.

1. Exposure is anything, no matter how insignificant it may seem, that makes a statement about what you believe in. Talk to people! Get other people talking! If you feel passionate about this issue- if it makes your heart throb and your eyes sting- involve yourself on a larger scale. Do presentations about it, talk to groups about it.

2. You could talk to your local newspaper about it in hopes of getting an article published about it. It may seem daunting, and it may even seem impossible. You may think, "even if I were to do this, it would probably only travel through my city". But the truth is, it will gauranteed be spread, even if only a little further into adjoining cities.

3. You could start a campaign, or a petition. Campaigning and advertising are incredible methods of exposure. You allow the public to participate, and to learn about the issue and why it is happening.

4. Write to powerful, saavy figures about the issue. People of power, such as politicians, have the ability to spread a message on a larger scale. If they were to gain enough support regarding this issue, it's entirely possible that they would be able to make change.

If you are not keen on any extensive measures in order to promote exposure, but would still like to help, here is a petition that is dedicated to ending China's "One Child Policy". This website, called "All Girls Allowed", also promotes self-worth for every Chinese woman. There are different sections of the site that can give you other ideas for creating change as well. It is even possible, through this site, to sponsor an impoverished mother and her daughter.

Those Involved

Within this issue, there are different groups involved who all play a role in effecting and determining different outcomes. There are the "players" and there are the "stakeholders". The "stakeholders", in this situation, would be China's communist government, because they ultimately initiated the problem. The government essentially decides the way in which the people will be governed, how they will live, and their quality of life.

By enforcing the "One Child Policy", the people of China have their reproductive and human rights taken away; this means that they are consequently the "players". Chinese women and men therefore have to follow the law and, if not, would face the consequences of having their second (or third) baby discarded in front of them. And, of course, those who choose not to follow the law and are able to discreetly birth more children sometimes find themselves killing an unwanted baby girl. It is an absolutely tragic cycle, and it is, essentially, the government who holds all the power to  change it. It is certainly not the common people of China who will be able to change it alone.

Women are, of course, the ones who are most effected by this issue. Not only are their reproductive rights diminished, but their own self preservation and self worth. Growing up in an environment where it is assumed that one is worthless is absolutely poisonous. This is most likely the reason that some women are able to disregard the importance of life of their offspring, and are able to commit infanticide. The patriarchal society provides little to no refuge for these women. Those who are sold or given away at a young age often end up in the trafficking industry. This is a vicious cycle because none of these women are born into healthy living situations, and will bear children who will quite possibly follow with the same misfortune. In this way, the women of China are the ultimate "players".

lunes, 4 de junio de 2012

Why Is This Happening?

The gender imbalance of China started in 1979, with the application of the One Child Policy. This policy was applied as a measure to moderate the immensely high (and continually rising) population within China. It promotes late marrying and late child-bearing, and allows urban couples to have only one child, and rural couples to have two. The government has, and will continue to heavily enforce this rule.

It became a problem quite immediately, because couples now "had to" produce a male offspring. Gendercide, in particular, started occuring because poor rural farmers, who had little to no money, could not afford to not bear a son. Female children were considered weak and inadequate by nature. A female could not possibly run a farm; the main source of income for a family within the farming community. Seeing as these families generally could not afford an abortion, nor did they have accessible health care, the births were "illegal", meaning they went undocumented. Therefore there would be no record of the birth and the girl child could therefore easily be discarded. In this way, the family could "try again" in hopes of producing a male child. This happened sometimes in urban communities as well, but many baby girls were discarded discreetly by the hospitals themselves who delivered them (if the child was legal but unwanted). If birthing a second "illegal" child, the child would be directly killed in order to enforce the One Child Policy. Below is an interesting link, with a devestating example of this. It is a must-see in order to truly comprehend the extent of this problem.

With the introduction of abortion and prenatal sex-selection, gendercide became less common within urban communites. It still remained prevalent in impoverished areas, however. Now that people could foresee a female fetus, they could choose to discard it beforehand. With this new technology, the gender imbalance became even more drastic.

"You can take medicine to end the pregnancy," he said matter-of-factly. "Otherwise you have the baby and if it's a female, you try to find another family who will take it, or you just put it up for sale." -Liu Yihong


The root cause to this problem, however, is not the gender imbalance itself, nor the appauling act of killing numerous little girls. It is the incredibly low societal status that is associated with women. Because it is a patriarchal, or "male-dominated" society, women posess little to no value. They are seen simply as housewives, useful for tending to the home and to the children. This is incredibly detrimental to the women, who, even from a young age, are taught their stereotypical roles. This is detrimental to the men, also, who do and will continue to devalue the women in their lives without a second thought. Because these societal views are so deeply engrained, it is a nearly impossible aspect to change.

miércoles, 30 de mayo de 2012


In order to be able to understand the turmoil of China and its missing women, one must first learn the terms "gendercide", and "female infanticide". The general meaning is the direct and intentional killing of baby girls, due to a preference for male babies. This is also directly linked to prenatal sex-selection, sex-selective abortions, female abandonment, and trafficking of women (which I will further explain in later posts).

It is commonly a forced practice, meaning that many Chinese women are somewhat, if not completely, deprived of both their human and reproductive rights. It is normally expected from husbands that women bear a son, in order to continue the wealth and prosperity of the family. If, however, a woman bears a female child, it is often predetermined that the fetus will have to be destroyed or later abandoned. This is often without her consent.There are, however, some women who willingly abandon or allow the killing of their female babies, because they are deemed useless by society and the family.

An abandoned baby girl found among rubbish in a public park.

Because of this issue, there is now an irreversible gender imbalance within the whole of China. It is estimated that there are approximately 111 baby boys born for every 100 baby girls. In some less populated areas of China, including rural or farming areas, the statistics tend to be even more imbalanced. It is currently estimated that there are approximately 25 million Chinese men who can not find wives.