February 05, 2003
Girl Shortage Causes Wife Buying In India

The use of amniocentesis and ultrasound to guide sex selective abortions is leading to a shortage of females in India.

The villages are full of frustrated bachelors. In Haryana, a quarter of the female population has simply disappeared.

Many now see buying wives from outside as their only option.

A study of sex ratio trends in India from 1981 to 1991 predicted the sale of women.

The adverse sex ratio has not increase the value of women by decreasing the supply. India’s population sex ratio worsened from 972 females per 1000 males in 1901 to 929 per 1000 in 1991. At the same time, women's status steadily eroded despite gains in some sectors by some groups. A ‘shortage’ of women does not lead to their increased value, but to greater restrictions and control placed over them. In China, practices such as kidnapping and sale of women, organized import of wives from other countries, etc., have been noted as a result of the shortage of women there. The same might be predicted for India.

Still, one reason many families abort the females is to avoid expensive dowries.

On the other hand, there is a great deal of public support in India from pro-sex selective abortion advocates who feel that these tools are helping families to cope with intransigent problems, especially dowry. Health clinics, buoyed by record profits, are aggressively selling their wares. One clever economic pitch blares from tens of thousands of billboards through the country--"Pay five hundred rupees [US$14.00] now rather than five lakhs [Rs500,000 or $14,000] later." Poor families, fearing expensive dowries that can cripple a family, willing undergo the tests.

Shouldn't the female shortage cause an end to the dowry practice or shift it in the opposite direction? Will the market apply corrective forces? Laws against sex selection are not working.

In the midst of such strong public support of these tests, criminalization has not noticeably reduced their use. Even with the passage of the Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act of 1988 in Maharastra, and similar acts in Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat, sex determination practices could not be stemmed.

This article makes a claim that is a surprise to me: dowry only dates back to the 19th century.

However, in approximately the 19th century, the loving practice of stri dana was joined by the very much different concept of dowry. Dowry became first an expected, then a demanded, offering given by the bride's family to the groom's family at the time of marriage.

Dowry is far from the only factor leading to sex selection in favor of males. The high rate of sex selection in China demonstrates that sex selection happens in societies which do not have the dowry custom.

"The male sex preference in China is clearly established with 118 or 119 male birth for 100 female births," said Caroline Hoy, a demographer from Dundee University. She said a survey of migrant workers carried out in Beijing in 1994 put the skew higher, at an average 139 male births for 100 female births.

In rural areas of China the status of women is so low that their existence is under-reported. But the ratio of males to females is still very high.

However population statistics show that the sex ratio in China is unique among all the large countries of the world. Artificial sex selection is the cause of this. In recent years, the use of ultrasound equipment, the traditional Chinese method of feeling pulse, folk remedies, and the crippling of girl babies occur frequently in some areas. These practices have aggravated the imbalance in the Chinese sex ratio. In some areas the male : female sex ratio has reached 130:100.

An in-depth study in a small area confirmed the widespread use of prenatal sex selection and abortion.

Chu designed a questionnaire to assess the prevalence of prenatal sex selection and abortion. The survey started in one village and spread to over 100 villages in five townships of the county. In-depth interviews took place in six villages in three townships of the county.

The 820 women surveyed reported 301 induced abortions. Of these, 36 percent (109) were acknowledged to be female sex-selective abortions. The sex ratio of births reported by the women in the survey was much higher than the biological norm of about 105-107 males per 100 females. The sex ratio of children ever born was 125.9 and of living children it was 126.1. "Prenatal sex selection was probably the primary cause, if not the sole cause, for the continuous rise of the sex ratio at birth in the study area in the past decade," Chu maintains.

According to Chu, female infant abandonment or infanticide is extremely rare in the county she studied. "Rural families believe in fate: if they do something horrible, they will be punished by unseen forces. Besides, it is easy to arrange for the adoption of unwanted girls," she says.

Think about the implications of these reports. Tens or hundreds of millions of people are willing to abort fetuses in order to choose a characteristic in their offspring. Is there any doubt that once genetic engineering of embryos becomes possible that it will pass into widespread use?

Francis Fukuyama claims the government of South Korea successfully stopped the practice of sex selection.

Governments can intervene successfully to correct individual choices like these. The severe sex ratio imbalance in Korea that emerged in the early 1990s was noticed, and the government took measures to enforce existing laws against sex selection so that today the ratio is much closer to 50-50. If the government of a young democracy like Korea can do this, I don't see why we can't.

This report from 1999 throws doubt on Fukuyama's claim.

Hunger for girl tots is anomalous on the Asian continent, where abortions of XX-chromosome fetuses are widespread. Significant gender imbalance has resulted in many nations: China has 118 boys per 100 girls under age 5, Korea has 117 to 100, and Taiwan is 110 to 100.

How is sex selection done in South Korea in spite of its illegality? Its pretty simple. For any country that allows abortion if ultrasound is available for legal purposes then there is an easy and unprovable way to do sex selection.

It is a possibility that a particular sex will be preferred and for this reason sex selection could result. An example of this is currently being seen in Korea. Korea currently predicts a 10% increase in the male to female ratio within the next 30 years. Sex selection is not legal in Korea, but doctors give unspoken results through the amount of enthusiasm they show the mothers. If the doctor lacks enthusiasm upon the test results, the mother often calls for an abortion, knowing that the fetus is female (Wolf, 1996).

It is currently legal to use sex selection techniques in the United States though the practice hasn't yet become widespread. The MicroSort technique of pre-fertilization sex selection removes the need for abortion but costs a few thousand dollars and while it pushes the odds heavily toward one sex or the other its success rate is less than perfect.

Here's how Fortune magazine recently summed up at least the potential market for MicroSort alone: "Each year, some 3.9 million babies are born in the U.S. In surveys, a consistent 25 percent to 35 percent of parents and prospective parents say they would use sex selection if it were available. If just two percent of the 25 percent were to use MicroSort, that's 20,000 customers . . . [and] a $200-million-a-year business in the U.S. alone."

Curiously, there have been historical circumstances in which females have had survival advantages.

Eckart Voland of Göttingen University has studied church records of births, deaths and marriages from Ostfriesland, along the northern coastal region of Germany, as these records also show interesting sex differences in survival. The analysis of records from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries turned up a couple of hundred cases where one spouse died, leaving a number of living children. In this monogamous, Christian, agricultural society, if a young wife lost her husband she almost invariably became very poor. Any sons that she had were unlikely to compete adequately with boys from richer families, but her daughters, like the daughters of low ranking hinds in Clutton-Brock's studies, always had some chance of marrying up the social ladder. An investment in daughters in this particular social situation had an adaptive biological significance and, as evolutionary biology would predict, the sons of widows were 36 per cent more likely to die in infancy and childhood than the daughters. When men lost their wives, however, their economic status did not change and they often had the opportunity to remarry; the sons of widowers were no more likely to die young than their daughters.

There is one modern society where female children are preferred: Japan.

ISEHARA, Japan - In a surprising repudiation of the traditional Asian values that for centuries have put a premium on producing male heirs, surveys show that up to 75 percent of young Japanese parents now prefer baby girls. Daughters are seen as cuter, easier to handle, more emotionally accessible and, ever more important in this fast-aging society, more likely to look after their elderly parents.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2003 February 05 11:31 AM  Biotech Society

Ralf Goergens said at February 10, 2003 2:37 PM:

"more emotionally accessible"

Are they accessible for gajins, too, by any chance? :)

Varsha Sherring said at March 2, 2003 3:14 PM:

Where can I get someone to talk about the shortage of women in India for a news report to be shot in Mumbai?

yune choi said at May 2, 2003 3:48 AM:

reading this article made me realise the possabilities of actually buying a wife, understanding the problems etc would it be possible for myself to buy a wife (i live in london, UK)?. cost is no problem and i truely see that this is the way forward for me, i would be greatful if you could reply to my comment as this topic has been playing on my mind for a will.
thank you

T.j.Green said at June 21, 2003 4:41 PM:

We can seperate bulls sperm so that only cows are born,making milk production more efficent.Science is now giving us the ability to choose how our species evolves.It would be interesting to know what all six billion of us would choose to change in our species.

v.vachaspati said at December 15, 2003 7:50 PM:

Good One.
Hit the url and express your opinions.

v.vachaspati said at December 15, 2003 7:50 PM:

Good One.
Hit the url and express your opinions.

a v n suresh said at February 9, 2004 4:23 AM:

I am doing posters on different woman related subjects like Breast cancer, office abuse, child prostitution...Can sombody get me some info in terms of statistics, surveys or sites where i can get info.


jock the rock said at April 27, 2004 6:42 AM:

Im going to sell the chinese women to indian men so i can make a bundle dont take my idea

ritu said at September 19, 2004 7:55 AM:

hii all
this is bullshit , a pure propaganda of a hardcore feminist wat one can do if biology is playing its cards and the so called more "emotionally accesible" give pathway to their brothers to take birth and sacrifice on their part.
now hope u wont mind
and who would forget darwins law "SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST"

Memyself said at October 7, 2004 3:21 PM:

I've been watching this for years. It was bound to happen. I would have sympathy ,but its kinda hard when I watch Societies who didn't value females (for other than breeding purposes)kill them. You need to explain how extream the infanticide rate is VS abortion. http://www.gendercide.org/case_infanticide.html. Now this joker Yune wants to buy a wife. All he did is prove my point.Your sad man really sad. Be a man and go deal with a woman on a human adult level .Then ask her out. Who knows maybe she'll never find out that you were pathetic enough to even concive of buying a wife.Only men who can't deal with women as adults would even concive of asking about this. Any group who cannot deal with Half of the population of this planet,no matter what their excuse or reasoning deserves what happens to them.
Guess since you think they are so superior you need to find some MALE comanion ship. huh?


random guy said at December 31, 2004 8:37 AM:

>Now this joker Yune wants to buy a wife. All he did is prove my point.Your sad man really sad.

Well maybe if western women were'nt so trashy and had qualities to respected and desired he wouldn't be considering buying a bride. But they don't. Just go down your local nightclub if you don't believe me.

Good luck Yune in your search, i myself also prefer the morally enriched sensitive women of these back water countries.

Joe said at November 13, 2005 3:33 PM:

If you can "afford" to buy a wife, why not just go to those countries and woo one? There are so many educated and beautiful women in Asia that want a family why, and I hate to use this word, "purchase" one that has been ripped away from her home and family?

Delina said at February 1, 2006 12:25 PM:

You CAN'T buy a human being!!!

andrea said at February 8, 2006 9:56 AM:

random guy said: Well maybe if western women were'nt so trashy and had qualities to respected and desired he wouldn't be considering buying a bride. But they don't. Just go down your local nightclub if you don't believe me.

I love your generalization there. (are you being serious? do you even know any 'western women'? and what is a western woman, in your view? or are you just looking in nightclubs?!)

Epema said at February 23, 2006 7:31 PM:

I feel sad for all of the men there who will not end up with happy lives - soulmates simply because they have no sister / have no money.
Truly sorrowful. By the way, someone questioned how much of this was infanticide vs. abortions? They are the same thing; and I think the drastic increase in sonograms would indicate we're dealing primarily with abortion here; which of course is still killing your child simply because she is a girl.

simply aweful

La Shone said at April 24, 2006 3:23 PM:

I'm looking for an american girl who would be willing to marry my friend from Montenegro. he's nice, sweet, fun, and very good looking. He needs a trustworthy girl who would be willing to help him live out his dream of being an American Citizen. Money is no object. Or if there is any one out there that know of any agencies that could help me with that. Please email me. THANK YOU.

Dave said at May 30, 2006 4:51 AM:

You're not really owning the girl when you buy her, you are buying the right to marry her, and it has happened for a long time; call it tradition. In China and elsewhere, it is tradition to ask the parents to marry, and after marriage send to their parents a sum of money, usually a few thousand dollars (USD). Sometimes, they will neeed the money and sell their daughters for a sum of money with the promise to re-sell to a good man only. Marriage is very important, it is not good to be unmarried there. Most people have the same values so it is easier to find someone compatible. Most of the time they are happy and fall in love and have children. This doesn't mean I condone it, it is just to say it happens alot and is not what is appears to be; buying a sex slave. If a woman is bought for this, she will run away for sure. If she is not happy, she will run away. Also when you "woo" a woman you spend money on her anyways, for dates; movies, dinner, jewelry, etc. It's been the norm to "woo" a woman for some time now, but it is merely a different and "modern" way of doing the same thing, not to say it hasn't always been done that way, it was just one of the choices available and now is the main choice available for bachelors. Most of these women just want a good man who wants children and will work hard and bring home money and like to cook and clean. Also these women can leave or say no anytime they want, they are not caged or tied up. Most just want a good man and don't care what they look like (looks don't last anyhow). If you want to know the truth, just look at the facts on a neutral basis. Again I don't condone it and would never buy a woman, just explaining.

sayak boral said at October 20, 2006 7:46 AM:

India and China both suck in this regard. While most Christian and Islamic countries and even Buddhist ones have more females than males, these two countries will be full of Sex-starved males. Did you know Polyandry has resurfaced in India, with some villages in Northern ndia having the same woman having sex with 3 brothers of same family, or even neighbours.

Sam said at August 14, 2007 6:05 PM:

If any woman is intrested to buy man then please contact me ...i am open !!!

I need money for my family cause my family is in big time trouble..

Please write me....Its not that i am not earn money here at my place ...its just i can't able that much money that soon as i have pay to save my family members!! Please write i resqest or I beg HELP ME !!! Kim_v_nelly@yahoo.com

Ulrike said at September 24, 2007 10:32 PM:

You stupid men just need to be brought under proper female control. None of you can think for yourselves anyway, especially the hideously ugly third world losers who need to 'buy' wives. My solution: hard labor for all men, and the pretty men get to go to my harem. Now men, do yourselves a favor and stop talking--none of you can spell anyway.

working joe said at June 22, 2009 4:41 PM:

There needs to be 2 women for every man in the world, then things would be set straight. Honestly the world has little need for men any more, all the physical labor we used to do has been replaced by machines. Women have no need for us, so obviously we get desperate trying to find a mate. I feel like anywhere I go theres 10 guys competing for every girl and I just get tired of trying to sell myself to a woman. Am I appreciated for being a hard working blue collar guy who is responsible with the money I do make? pfft, women want money money money. They want a 9 to 5er who doesnt get dirty at work. They want you to have a big pension and benefits. Thats it. My proof of this theory? I work in different demographis of residential construction. In the high end .5million dollar home subdivisions every single fricking house has a smoking hot young woman, deadly body, very young and attractive living in it, with multiple kids clinging off them, and a preppy husband wearing a suit that drives off in a SUV at about 8:30 in the morning well after we start working. The women stay home all day and play in the parks or wheel their kids around in buggies. In the ant farm subdivisions, its a mix of everything but usually old people, single people, immigrants, or just plain ugly people. the cars are gone in the morning and no ones home. Off to work work work, to pay for your house of hockey sticks.

Share or perish said at March 25, 2010 3:43 AM:

Wake up, brothers of the world. Time to face the reality of EXTREME COMPETITION BETWEEN MALES FOR LIMITED FEMALE STOCK.

In a globalized, BORDERLESS world we live in, the women shortage crisis is already hitting everyone, not just inside Middile East, China or India.

A tiny percentage of men, say top one hundred males of Tiger Woods, Li Ming, Brat Pitt, Beckham, Pattinson quality in net worth and physical appeal, will continue to get to choose from the best female stock. But EVEN these top hunks will be paying many times higher price than today. This will inflate female pricing of the next tier.

The next tier of males who get to choose will be the super rich middle age billionaire males, some of them monogamist, some polygamists who usually buy themselves a few young pretty wives. So far we covered only 0.0000001% of adult human male population.

The next lower tier is the upper middle class tier who earn by today's term at least $1 million a year. This millionaires don't even get to choose. They have to stay fit too. The smart and just-ok-looking female of your social community will choose from among these bachelors. The richer and fitter and pleasant and loyal and USEFUL the guys are, the better prospect.

The rest of the 2 billion not-so-rich not-so-cute not-so-well-brought-up males will have to fight each other at an odd of 1 female to 3 males, for the leftover girls.

Needless to say, in the future, a good "dating" agency who takes really good care of the female stock (and educate the desperate male clients) will make lots of money.

Beggars better not be choosers. It is time the blokes, old and young, have a more modest assessment of our options, today and tomorrow.

And just because we are married today, doesn't mean our current wife would not trade up for a richer or younger model. The competitions for our wives and girlfriends will intensify all the way to at least 2050. Sooner or later most of us may have to share our women. With their full consent, of course. It is not ideal, but still far better than sharing a pro with hundreds of strangers.

That, or we have to resort to each other's hairy parts, surgical enhancement, or digital girlfriends.

So peace, brothers. Be real. Stay real. And we'll be ok.

Wordman said at February 10, 2011 12:17 AM:

Frightening what people say on these boards. Incredible honesty in some cases, but frightening all the same. Besides that what I want to say is that monsterous practices bring about monterous problems. Cultures that have condoned the mass murder of their nations' offspring by the offsprings' own parents have condoned one of most evil and hideous perversion imaginable: Children being killed by the very people who should have the strongest God-given impulse to protect them! The Bible lists the quality of being "without natural affection" as one of the curses that falls on those who turn their backs on God. How long can those who approve of treating some children with the same indifference as one might throw unwanted accessories in the trash continue to pretend that that the other humans around them are any less disposable? The chaos that is coming to these cultures and the world is just part of the reckoning. Let us pray and that we would all turn to Jesus Christ Who, during his earthly sojurn, welcomed children and held them in His arms. God's own Son alone offers this world our only hope of turning from our own madness and destruction.

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