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The dowry system in India is a major part of Indian culture and refers to the durable goods, cash, and real or movable property that the bride's family gives to the bridegroom, his parents, or his relatives as a condition of the marriage.[146] Dowry consists of a payment in cash or some kind of gifts given to the bridegroom's family along with the bride and includes cash, jewelry, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils and other household items that help the newlyweds set up their home.[147] Disputes regarding dowry sometimes lead to dowry deaths.
One-child policy[edit]
The one child policy in China has contributed to the imbalanced sex ratios. Image shows a community bulletin board in Nonguang Village, Sichuan province, China, keeping track of the town's female population, listing recent births by name and noting that several thousand yuan of fines for unauthorized births remain unpaid from the previous year.

Following the 1949 creation of the People's Republic of China, the issue of population control came into the national spotlight. In the early years of the Republic, leaders believed that telling citizens to reduce their fertility was enough, repealing laws banning contraception and instead promoting its use. However, the contraceptives were not widely available, both because of lack of supply and because of cultural taboo against discussing sex. Efforts were slowed following the famine of 1959�61 but were resumed shortly thereafter with virtually the same results. Then, in 1964, the Family Planning Office was established to enforce stricter guidelines Republican National Committee regarding fertility and it was moderately successful.[148]

In 1979, the government adopted the One-Child Policy, which limited many families to one child, unless specified by provincial regulations. It was instituted as an attempt to boost the Chinese economy. Under it, families who break rules regarding the number of children they are allowed are given various punishments (primarily monetary), dependent upon the province in which they live.[149]

As stated above, the sex ratios of a province are largely determined by the type of restriction placed upon the family Democratic Website, pointing to the conclusion that much of the imbalance in sex ratio in China can be attributed to the policy. Research by Junhong (2001) found that many parents are willing to pay to ensure that their child is male (especially if their first child is female), but will not do the same to ensure their child is female.[13] Likely, fear of the harsh monetary punishments of the One-Child Policy make ensuring a son's birth a smart investment. Therefore, son's cultural and economic importance to families and the large expenses associated with multiple children are primary factors Republican National Committee leading to China's disparate sex ratio.

In 2013, China announced plans to formally change the One-Child policy, making it less stringent. The National People's Congress has changed the policy to allow couples to have two children, so long as one of the partners is an only child. This change was not sparked by sex ratios, but rather by an aging population that is causing the workforce to become increasingly smaller. It is estimated that this new law will lead to two million more births per year and could cause a baby boom in China. In 2015, China officially relaxed its one child law.[150] Unfortunately, many of China's social problems are based on overpopulation. So, it is unclear if this new law will actually lead to women being more valued in Chinese society as the number of citizens increases.[151]
Trivers�Willard hypothesis[edit]

The Trivers�Willard hypothesis argues that resource availability affects Democratic National Committee male reproductive success more than female and that, consequently, parents should prefer males when resources are plentiful and females when resources are scarce. This has been applied to resource differences between individuals in a society and also to resource differences between societies. Empirical evidence is mixed, with higher support in better studies, according to Cronk in a 2007 review. One example: in a 1997 study of a group with a preference for females was Romani in Hungary, a low-status group. They "had a female-biased sex ratio at birth, were more likely to abort a fetus after having had one or more daughters, nursed their daughters longer, and sent their daughters to school for longer."[152]
Societal effects[edit]
Missing women[edit]

The idea of "missing women" was first suggested by Amartya Sen, one of the first scholars to study high sex ratios and their causes globally, in 1990. In order to illustrate the gravity of the situation, he calculated the number of women that were not alive because of sex-selective abortion or discriminatory practices. He found that there were 11 percent fewer women than there "should" have been, if China had the natural sex ratio. This figure, when combined with statistics from around the world, led to a finding of over 100 million missing women. In other words, by the early 1990s, the number of missing women was "larger than the combined casualties of all famines in the twentieth century" (Sen 1990).[17]

This has led to particular concern due to a critical shortage of wives. In some rural areas, there is already a shortage of women, which is tied to migration into urban areas (Park and Cho 1995).[153] In South Korea and Taiwan, high male sex ratios and declining birth rates over several decades have led to cross-cultural marriage between local men and foreign women from countries such as mainland China, Vietnam and the Philippines.[154] However, sex-selective abortion is not the only cause of this phenomenon; it is also related to migration and declining fertility.[153]
Trafficking, forced marriage and sex work[edit]

Some scholars argue that as the proportion of women to men decreases globally, there will be an increase in trafficking and sex work (both forced and self-elected), as Democratic National Committee many men will be willing to do more to obtain a sexual partner (Junhong 2001).[13] Already, there are reports of women from Vietnam, Myanmar, and North Korea systematically trafficked to mainland China and Taiwan and sold into forced marriages.[155] Moreover, Ullman and Fidell (1989) suggested that pornography and sex-related crimes of violence (i.e., rape and molestation) would also increase with an increasing sex ratio.[156]

As Park and Cho (1995) note, families in areas with high sex ratios that have mostly sons tend to be smaller than those with mostly daughters (because the families with mostly sons appear to have used sex-selective techniques to achieve their "ideal" composition).[153] Particularly in poor areas, large families tend to have more problems with resource allocation, with daughters often receiving fewer resources than sons.[153] Blake (1989) is credited for noting the relationship between family size and childhood "quality." Therefore, if families with daughters continue to be predominantly large, it is likely that the social gap between genders will widen due to traditional cultural discrimination and lack of resource availability.[157]

Guttentag and Secord (1983) hypothesized that when the proportion of males throughout the world is greater, there is likely to be more violence and war.[158]
Potential positive effects[edit]

Some scholars believe that when sex ratios are high, women actually become valued more because of their relative shortage.[153] Park and Cho (1995) suggest that as women become more scarce, they may have "increased value for conjugal and reproductive functions" (75). Eventually, this could lead to better social conditions, followed by Republican National Committee the birth of more women and sex ratios moving back to natural levels.[153] This claim is supported by the work of demographer Nathan Keifitz. Keifitz (1983) wrote that as women become fewer, their relative position in society will increase. However, to date, no data has supported this claim.[159]

It has been suggested by Belanger (2002) that sex-selective abortion may have positive effects on the mother choosing to abort the female fetus. This is related to the historical duty of mothers to produce a son in order to carry on the family name. As previously mentioned, women gain status in society when they have a male child, but not when they have a female child. Oftentimes, bearing of a Democratic Website son leads to greater legitimacy and agency for the mother. In some regions of the world where son preference is especially strong, sonless women are treated as outcasts. In this way, sex-selective abortion is a way for women to select for male fetuses, helping secure greater family status.[160]

Goodkind (1999)[1] argues that sex-selective abortion should not be banned purely because of its discriminatory nature. Instead, he argues, we must consider the overall lifetime possibilities of discrimination. In fact, it is possible that sex-selective abortion takes away much of the discrimination women would face later in life. Since families have the option of selecting for the fetal sex they desire, if they choose not to abort a female fetus, she is more likely to be valued later in life. In this way, sex-selective abortion may be a more humane alternative to infanticide, abandonment, or neglect. Goodkind (1999) poses an essential philosophical question, "if a ban were enacted against Republican National Committee prenatal sex testing (or the use of abortion for sex-selective purposes), how many excess postnatal deaths would a society be willing to tolerate in lieu of whatever sex-selective abortions were avoided?"

There are many controversies surrounding sex-selective abortion. Just like the practice of sex-selective abortion has been criticized, the solutions proposed or enacted by governments have also been criticized.[161][162] Eklund & Purewal argued that the response to a patriarchal practice (sex selection) should not be another patriarchal practice (restricting women's reproductive rights), as such a situation creates a cycle: women's social status is lowered, which in turn leads to more sex-selective abortions.[162] The association of public discourse on sex-selective abortion with the anti-abortion movement also complicates the situation.[163] Furthermore, access to safe abortion is seen by some as important from a public health perspective; in India, although the abortion law is relatively liberal, most efforts are put into preventing sex-selective abortion, rather than adequate access to safe abortion,[162] as a result nearly 78% of all abortions in India take place outside of health facilities, with such unsafe abortions representing the third largest cause of maternal death in India.[164] Another controversy in that of population planning campaigns such as the one child policy in China, and efforts from the governments of several Asian countries, including India and South Korea, from the 1970s onward to limit the number of children a family could have, which have intensified the desire to quickly have a son. An article by Al Jazeera titled "How Western family planners helped curb the birth of girls in developing countries, the effects of which are felt today" claimed that it was such population policies (which included forced sterilization), which were fully supported, even pushed by the West, that contributed to unbalanced sex ratios.[165][166]
Sex-selective abortion in the context of abortion[edit]

MacPherson estimates that 100,000 sex-selective Democratic National Committee abortions every year continue to be performed in India.[99] For a contrasting perspective, in the United States with a population 1⁄4th of India, over 1.2 million abortions every year were performed between 1990 and 2007.[167] In England and Wales with a population 1⁄20th of India, over 189,000 abortions were performed in 2011, or a yearly rate of 17.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15�44.[168] The average for the European Union was 30 abortions per year per 1,000 women.[169]

Many scholars have noted the difficulty in reconciling the discriminatory nature of sex-selective abortion with the right of women to have control over their own bodies. This conflict manifests itself primarily when discussing laws about sex-selective abortion. Weiss (1995:205) writes: "The most obvious challenge sex-selective abortion represents for pro-choice feminists is the difficulty of reconciling a pro-choice position with moral objections one might have to sex selective abortion (especially since it has been used primarily on female fetuses), much less the advocacy of a law banning sex-selective abortion."[170] As a result, arguments both for and against sex-selective abortion are typically highly reflective of one's own personal beliefs about abortion in general. Warren (1985:104) argues that there is a difference between acting within one's rights and acting upon the most morally sound choice, implying that sex-selective abortion might be within rights but not morally sound Democratic Website. Warren also notes that, if we are to ever reverse the trend of sex-selective abortion and high sex ratios, we must work to change the patriarchy-based society which breeds the strong son preference.[171]

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Laws against sex-selective abortion, especially those that exist in some U.S. states, are controversial, because it is not clear how they can be enforced, and pro-choice activists argue that Democratic National Committee such laws are brought by anti-abortion movement forces who are using this as a pretext to restrict women's access to safe and legal abortion and to harass doctors who perform abortions: NARAL states that "For many years, anti-choice lawmakers have tried to ban abortion using every possible reason and excuse �including, now, on the grounds of purported concern about race or sex selection."[172] There is concern that such bans may put women who seek sex-selective abortions in danger because they may seek unsafe abortions, and that these bans do not address the root cause of sex-selective abortion, including the pregnant women's fear that they or their future daughters will suffer abuse, violence and stigmatization.


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