What is Gendercide?
This gendercide is defined as “the systematic extermination of a particular gender” and it has become widespread in India and China. It is a human rights violation on a massive scale perhaps the most widespread form of violent anti-female discrimination in the world today. Cultural bias in these countries which favours boys over girls has led to prevalent sex selective abortions. In both India and China ultrasound technology plays a huge role in allowing this discrimination to occur.
What is happening in China?
Population control is continually promoted and forced upon women by Chinese officials in line with the one child policy. A new policy has been implanted which now allow couples to have a second child. The punishments for not complying with the population planning make couples choose between having an abortion or paying a heavy fine, “social maintenance fees”, which is much greater than the average annual income. At least 22 of China’s 31 provincial level jurisdictions instruct officials to conduct abortions if the couples disobey the policies. In some cases, children whose parents disobeyed the family planning restrictions have been refused birth permits and face a life in their own country as an “illegal resident”. This pressure has lead to an estimate of 1,500 babies being aborted every hour under the one-child policy. These unjust policies have had a dramatic affect on the country’s demographic, primarily a gender imbalance, ageing population and an ageing workplace.
Due to sex-selective abortions the ratio of men to women in China is severely skewed. The recent change in the one-child policy may improve the gender imbalance but will not resolve it fully. In 2013, the UN Committee on Rights of the Child recommended that in order to reduce discrimination against girls and banish cultural norms that China needs to undertake immediate policy and awareness raising measures to reduce sex-selective abortions and abandonment of girls. There are now 32 million more men than women under the age of 20. It has been reported that this excess in males has led to an increase in trafficking of women and children for forced marriages and commercial sexual exploitation.
What is happening in India?
Government impelled family planning measures are also to blame for the gendercide which takes place in India. Introduced as early as the 1950’s, these measures were intended to reduce India’s population to alleviate the pressure on infrastructure and services. In the 1980’s a two-child family restriction was introduced. Most Indian families wanted a male to carry on the family name so this led to abandonment and death of baby girls. The use of ultrasound technology started to rise which then led to gender screening happening before birth which led to abortions of baby girls. It is estimated in studies that nearly half a million girls are aborted every year in India. The national sex ratio in India is 112 boys born for every 100 girls (112:100), but in 2011 it was as high as 125:100 in some provinces. There are now 37 million more men in India that women. This surplus of men will mean it is certain that many of them will never marry. This has drastic consequences on the demographics of the country. This war on women has also led to an increase in rape and violent crimes against them.