Gendercide and Women’s Advancement

We’ve all by now read a lot about China’s one child policy, its widespread biases favouring boys over girls, and resulting sex-selective abortion and infanticide. I was surprised to learn of an unexpected effect of all this, at least in some urban areas. One effect was that (at least some) families with a single daughter put far more resources into her education than they might otherwise have done, leading to a lot of highly educated and ambitious women. All this education and ambition has made them more independent of men than they might otherwise have been. And the fact that men outnumber women has apparently made women feel that they can “be picky”, demanding men who do not expect subservience of them. It’s worth noting that there are still plenty of horror stories about the way that women and girls are treated– I’ve particularly heard these about rural areas, though I don’t know if that’s representative. Nonetheless, it’s both interesting and nice to hear of a non-oppressive effect of an oppressive policy and oppressive attitudes. (Thanks, Jender-Parents!)

4 thoughts on “Gendercide and Women’s Advancement

  1. I know of a number of cases of Chinese women doing science in the US. They are prepared to spend years separated from their spouses, as presumeably many male postdocs. There are a lot of interesting questions to be raised. One might be about whether visa laws are breaking up families (duh!), another about how Chinese women deal with P and T, and so on.

  2. Even outside of China it is commonly expected that a girl baby will be less favored and less valued than a boy baby and that the parents will to a degree be resented by grandparents (and expect to be resented) if they have ‘just’ a girl. Unless things are totally different in China I don’t think the rarity of girls has compensated for that yet.

    I am also inclined to think that the desire of the women in Shanghai to place career ahead of children probably reflects commercialism (which is probably stronger in Shanghai than anywhere else in the world) more than it does the one child policy. I guess that is testable.

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