In many Asian countries, gender inequalities affect the demographic balance, and it’s not anymore so easy for a man to marry a woman. Asia has 100 million women less than men and is the most masculine continent in the world. Without Asia, the planet would be predominantly female. China and India are the main countries affected by this problem, but not only. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia are also concerned. In 2020, the number of men with no wife and no children should reach 28 to 32 million in India, and 30 to 40 million in China. Elimination of girls by abortions, unequal treatment between boys and girls, poor sanitation, is today still the cause of female mortality in childhood but also in adulthood. In Asia, there are fewer girls at birth than it should and female mortality increases more than it should.
IN INDIA GIRLS REPRESENT 90% OF ABANDONED BABIES
Infanticide is still practiced in small Indian villages. It is not unusual to find baby girls suffocated in plastic bags, poisoned with toxic plants, drowned or strangled.
It has become common in India for a woman to abort four, five or six times in his life, to be sure to expect a boy. There would be more than 6.4 million abortions per year in the country, in majority unreported. Statistics say that the wealthy urban areas have less female birth than others areas.
In India, the recent inflation of the amount of the dot is threatening more heavily the families’ economic stability. Even in affluent circles, to have a daughter is often seen as bad luck. When a girl gets married the girl’s family has to give a significant flow of money to the husband family. So if you have three daughters, you’re ruined; three sons, you’re saved!
GIRLS AND RELIGION
In the Hindu religion, having a daughter, condemns parents to an eternal wandering, because it is the son who is traditionally in charge of parent’s funeral death rites.
THE FAMILY LINEAGE IN ASIA
Asian societies have a strong preference for the sons and for countries like China, Taiwan, South Korea, etc., the lack of baby boys means the extinction of the family lineage and ancestor cult. The preservation of its economic heritage, usually the land, also influences the decision to favor a son. The allocation of arable land, a system set up in China during the agrarian collectivization in 1980, in addition to an inheritance system governed by patrilineal rules push many farmers to prefer a son.
GIRLS AND FAMILY
In India, as in China, in the family, the girl is only passing. After her wedding, she will leave his family to devote herself to her husband’s family and will have nothing more to see with his parents. In rural China, they know they have to raise a son to prepare for their old age because they will never receive a retirement pension. Raising a daughter says Chinese people is like cultivating the field for another one; for the Indians, the expression says “it is watering the neighbor’s garden”!
FIND A WIFE TODAY
In China, to Respond to this growing demand for wives, transnational networks organize themselves. At the Sino-Vietnamese border, for instance, the migration of women for marriage purposes is expanding since many years. For some poor Chinese families, buy a wife is now the only way to find, at lower cost, a companion for their son. In some Vietnamese villages, marriage registration services simplify procedures, allowing purchasers to get a certificate of marriage and an inscription in due form on the civil status registers. These wedding migrations from Vietnam also happened towards Taiwan these last 30 years. Since the mid-1990s, more than 100 000 women got married to Taiwanese men.
TO BE RARE DOES NOT MEAN TO BE PERCEIVED AS MORE PRECIOUS
Will the problem of women rarity improve in the future in Asia? For the moment, nothing indicates it. In China and India in particular, the lack of women gave birth to new businesses where women represent only a commodity. The Indian poor families sell their daughters and rates varies between 5,000 rupees (average price of a mobile phone) and 105,000 rupees (the price of a computer). Some young women are even sold to families that have multiple single sons, so the wife is shared between them. India also sees increasements of violence. Sexual frustration linked to the rise of celibacy is driving men to rape: Only in Delhi, there is one rape every 24h and many are collective crimes. Prostitution there is also booming, more than 2 millions of women are prostitutes and 25% are very young girls belonging to the low caste. The future of these generations of women is yet to be written. If the deficit of women continues, the world will have serious repercussions. Fewer women mean fewer children and mathematically fewer girls for the futures generations and in term a rapid deceleration of the population growth in these countries which are today the most populous ones.