Gendercide Crisis

October 4, 2011 • Volume 5, Issue 19
Can the lethal prejudice against girls be changed?
By Robert Kiener

Introduction

Save Girl Save Family Billboard (Cover: AFP/Getty Images/Raveendran)
A New Delhi billboard encourages parents to save their baby girls. Some 600,000 female fetuses are aborted in India each year. Governments in India and other Asian countries have launched mass publicity campaigns to promote the value of daughters and reverse an alarming gender imbalance across the region. (Cover: AFP/Getty Images/Raveendran)

An estimated 160 million babies in China, India and other Asian countries have been aborted or killed over the last 30 years — just because they were girls — in a phenomenon some are calling “gendercide.” A strong cultural preference for sons has existed for centuries in Asia. But in recent decades anti-female bias has combined with falling fertility rates, China's coercive one-child policy, new, high-tech prenatal gender-detection tools and widespread access to abortion to produce unprecedented gender imbalances in the region. An alarming shortage of females is changing the fabric of societies, with many villages so devoid of women the men cannot find wives. Governments are struggling to reverse societal attitudes toward daughters, but the changes will be too late for the 30-50 million Chinese men who over the next 20 years won't be able to marry. The gender imbalance already has led to increased kidnapping and trafficking in women and higher prostitution rates in the area. And experts worry that having so many unmarried men could threaten stability and security, because studies show that having large numbers of unattached young males leads to “the criminalization of society.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Abortion
Mar. 21, 2014  Abortion Debates
Oct. 04, 2011  Gendercide Crisis
Sep. 10, 2010  Abortion Debates
Sep. 22, 2006  Abortion Showdowns
Mar. 21, 2003  Abortion Debates
Nov. 28, 1997  Roe v. Wade At 25
Apr. 07, 1995  Abortion Clinic Protests
Jul. 05, 1991  Teenagers and Abortion
Jan. 26, 1990  Abortion: Politicians' Nightmare
Oct. 16, 1987  Abortion Policy
Jan. 14, 1983  Abortion: Decade of Debate
Oct. 22, 1976  Abortion Politics
Jul. 24, 1970  Abortion Law Reform
Oct. 06, 1965  Abortion in Law and Medicine
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Children
Global Issues