A recent article in the Economist caught my personal attention as it shared current census data from India which exposed a scary trend if you will. As the statistics documented that the numbers of female births are on the decline in reference to what would be expected in a normal distribution of this nature. While on the surface one might say this is simply a statistical aberration of the numbers and not worthy of anyone’s concern.
As if we were to look at India’s neighbor China, we see this has been a trend for sometime as with their one child rule, femicide has become a common practice along with various forms of abandonment. In fact one of the most haunting moments of my life occurred while standing on the street in the PuShi Province (China) waiting for a cab one evening. As out of the shrubbery at the side of the road ran a young girl toward me with a small bundle in her arms which she deposited into mine while crying a cry the likes I’ve never seen before. In this bundle was a small baby girl, who was now looking up at me with her eye shining in the reflection of the street lights over head.
As I stood there trying to get my mind around what had just happened, an old woman too ran from the underbrush toward me snatching the child from my arms. Soon a very loud argument ensued with the younger girl who was now broken down weeping in the shadows along the road side. My in country host who had witnessed the event from a distance rushed me away instructing me to keep my hands behind my back as if the police came, well you get the idea. However in retrospect, China is still a communist country, thus dictatorial and the concept of sons being valued more socially than daughters explain the actions which I had experienced that evening.
However India unlike China is a democracy and as such these rules are not in place, in fact because of this a greater amount of social affluancy is passed along to the people. So why are we seeing trends such as this manifesting themselves if there is greater wealth, and no rules? The answer is what scared me, in fact the wealth itself was creating this trend as it provided the ability for people to afford ultrasounds and gender selection technology. This in turn provides for advance knowledge of the unborn fetus’s sex allowing for negative selection based upon gender, or fertilization based upon a preferred sex status.
The scarier aspect of all this is if we look to the poverty side of equation, we see gendercide, and then as even when looking in the opposite direction to a country acceptant of democracy and economic growth we see a similar practice in gender selection. With it a trend of even greater worry emerges from the shadows as it becomes clear that even in the 21st century the world still devalues the female gender sociologically at the “mores” level, in short 50 percent of the human race which is a tragedy. Also, yes I still wonder what happened to that baby girl…