WITHOUT ENOUGH GIRLS—WHAT WILL LITTLE BOYS DO?
If you think about the natural order of things you'll see the design makes a lot of sense. We need a few more boys in the beginning stages because they are slightly more likely to die of childhood diseases and to allow for casualties in our wars, but we want things closer to even when it's time to marry and have children.
In the developed world nature is usually allowed to run its course and the genders are in balance almost 100% of the time. At birth, the average is 106 male babies for every 100 females. Around age 30, the little girl's pull even, and then they begin to pull away. At ages 75+, there are roughly twice as many "girls."
In the "developing" world things have gotten off track in some countries. China has become one of the few countries in the world with a total population of more males. One of the causes is abortion based on gender and when practiced long enough and with enough scale it can upset the natural order of a population in ways never contemplated before. When the deck is intentionally stacked in favor of boys what will these "little boys" do when they discover there aren't enough girls to go around? How will society respond to what may be an entirely new definition of just letting "Boys be Boys?"
40,000,000 CHINESE BOYS ARE FACING LIFE WITHOUT A WIFE
We want to be clear that we don't believe the Chinese government had any of this in mind when they adopted their one child policy to address their overpopulation problem and they appear to be serious about addressing it. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences predicts that in the year 2020, China will have as many as 40,000,000 more men than women under the age of 20. That's roughly the equivalent of the entire population of young men in the United States, or twice as many as in the three largest countries in Europe, all facing the prospect of being excluded from a society where having a family is a requirement just to "belong."
In 1978, China instituted its one child policy to address its massive overpopulation problem, and since that time, as many as 400,000,000 abortions have taken place. With Chinese parents' strong traditional preference for boys, it's not surprising that the vast majority of them were destined to be little girls. In some parts of China, the ratio can be as high as 130-100 boys to girls today.
The abortion problem is just the beginning. In a society where girls are devalued, it's no surprise that China has the highest female suicide rate in the World. Forced abortion traumatizes women and by some estimates from the WHO, as many as 500 Chinese women commit suicide every day, nostly in the rural provinces. We could speak at length about what might happen when little boys become big boys with too much time on their hands, but most of the behavior is obvious and is already taking place. Human Trafficking and Sexual Slavery are on the rise in China, but that's just the beginning. The evidence is equally clear there is increased violence almost everywhere an imbalance between the sexes, on this scale, has been allowed to occur. This violence appears to be localized at the moment, but will it remain so in the long run?
INDIA HAS LOST 50,000,000 BRIDES:
Selective Sex abortion is illegal in India, but they have neglected enforcing the law for far too long. Now their obsession with little boys has created an imbalance between the sexes that has led to other social consequences. In some areas, the boys already outnumber the girls by as much as two to one. And while the Indian people are known as being naturally warm and kind, who knows what changes might take place in their behavior as a result of having too many young men without brides to nurture them and occupy at least some of their time, which is the opposite of what's taking place in China.
One of the saddest aspects of the problem in India is that selective abortion takes place more often in the north, where the people are more highly educated and far more prosperous. In some respects, the Indian culture is even more obsessed with boy babies than the Chinese. They didn't impose a one child law on their people that might trigger behavior of this sort, but with the advent of ultrasound in the 1980's, which made the Sex of the baby easy to determine, female babies began to disappear in record numbers, even after they were born. Today the preferred method is abortion. One survey of Indian abortion clinics found that as many as 7,999 out of 8,000 aborted babies were little girls. India and China combined exceed 50% of all female suicides in the world.
Like China, India has an overpopulation problem, and many families can't afford too many children. In the poorer parts of the country, where ultra sound may not be available, when the first born is a girl, if the second born is also a girl, the odds of it surviving to the age of five are staggeringly low. The Indian tradition of the family of the bride providing a dowry, along with their daughter's hand in marriage, adds to the problem. If the dowry isn't large enough, the new bride's life can be in danger, or, at a minimum, she can be forced to suffer for the rest of her life for the insult caused by her family's lack of generosity. "Dowry deaths" are a serious problem in some parts of India, but the practice has other social consequences as well. Some families consider the birth of a girl as a future economic burden, leading many to conclude it is better to eliminate the problem now rather than later.
A LIGHT AT THE END OF A VERY DARK TUNNEL
The people can draw attention to the problem, but only Governments can make a problem as serious as Gerdercide go away. India already has a Law on the books, all she has to do is summon the courage to enforce it and we understand that process is underway. India's large social groups are speaking out more forcefully on the subject as well and many have taken oaths to never engage in this practice again. And more than half of India's popular Soap Operas now address some aspect of this complex issue every week. We are cautiously optimistic about the future.
It's not easy for either China or India to release information on a subject as sensitive as this and they should be commended for taking this step. Rather than condemn them, at this point in the process we might want focus our energy on encouraging them to continue their efforts to end it. One reason to consider some positive reinforcement for this new openness is they aren't alone. Centered primarily in Asia other countries with serious male population imbalances are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Serbia and Belarus to name a few. According to the UN South Korea had a very serious problem at one time, but is now well on their way to having it under control. So, it can be done! Tom LeDuc