In case this hasn't been posted before, the gender ratios in China and India are topping 1.2:1 boys:girls and are only getting worse. An article from the Economist
goes into more detail about what's pushing the urge to kill baby girls before and after pregnancy. An excerpt:
In its detailed and extensive investigative report, the magazine opens its article with chilling force. A baby girl is born in China’s Shandong province. Chinese writer Xinran Xue, present for the birth, then hears a man’s voice respond to the sight of the newborn baby girl. “Useless thing,” he cried in disappointment. The witness then heard a plop in the slops pail. “To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail!” When she tried to intervene she was restrained by police. An older woman simply explained to her, “Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here.”
The number of dead and missing baby girls is astounding. In some Chinese provinces, there are more than 130 baby boys for every 100 baby girls. The culture places a premium value on sons, and girls are considered an economic drain. A Hindu saying conveys this prejudice: “Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbor’s garden.”
Midwives even charge more for the birth of a baby boy. But the preference for a boy rises with both economic power and the number of children born to a couple. The imbalance of boys to girls is no accident — it reflects a prejudice that runs throughout the societies where the abortion and killing of baby girls is considered both understandable and routine.
Add to this the widespread availability of ultrasound imaging services. Even though the governments of China and India have officially declared sex-selection abortions to be illegal, they persist by the millions. (And, interestingly, the magazine notes that Sweden actually legalized sex-selection abortions in 2009.)
This sentence from the investigative report is particularly horrifying: “In one hospital in Punjab, in northern India, the only girls born after a round of ultrasound scans had been mistakenly identified as boys, or else had a male twin.”
The social consequences of this imbalance are vast and uncorrectable. China and India now face the reality of millions of young men and boys who have absolutely no hope of a wife and family. In China, these young men are called guanggun or “broken branches.” Just consider this — the 30 to 40 million “broken branches” in China are about equal in number to the total number of all boys and young men in the United States.
These young men represent a looming disaster on the societal level. Young males commit the greatest number of criminal acts and acts of violence. Marriage has been the great taming institution for the social development of young males. Without prospect for marriage and a normal sex and family life, these multiple millions of unmarried young men are becoming a significant social challenge in China and India. Some observers even argue that this may lead to an increased militarism in the region.
Of course, the greatest disaster is personal for the young men and boys who face the future as “broken branches.” The parents who insist on having boys are dooming their own sons to lives of brokenness, frustration, and grief.