At the risk of reducing a complex cultural, historical and political issue to the merely biological… did this little fact of life not occur to anyone? My mother sends the following item from the latest not-accessible-by-internet “Women’s Network News” (edited and published by Rachel Conrad Wahlberg, 5804 Cary Dr., Austin, TX 78757; this story reprinted from: NY Times International, Jan. 31, 2005 )…
“Everyone knows about the one-child policy in China. Its purpose was to limit the population – which is now 1.3 billion people.
For years many families have been using prenatal scans and selective abortions to make certain that the child is a boy – not only for his labor, but tradition holds that a son must care for his parents. A son is often compared to a pension.
Demographers predict that in a few decades China could have up to 40 million men unable to find mates.
But now – there is such a glut of boys – roughly 134 for every 100 girls – that the Chinese government is having second thoughts. It has decided to pay families who already have girls.
Some schools now have a Care for Girls program. Now there are billboards promoting the latest propaganda campaign – RESPECT GIRLS. A school official explains the program is supposed to build the self-esteem of girls.
In one rural community the pressure for sons had been so enormous that one mother, Liao Yanquing, said that she contemplated suicide because her second baby was another girl.
Now, she and her family have received a government grant – money they have used to buy a new house and a small restaurant. And both girls go to school free.
“It’s been quite a dramatic change,” she said.