Tuesday, 13 April 2010


“If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.” - Aristotle Onassis

What are little girls made of, made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.

What are little boys made of, made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
                                       Nursery rhyme

I read once again with horror about the major problem of female infanticide and feticide (“gendercide”) that remains rampant in China and India. Female infanticide has been a feature in many cultures through the ages, and has probably been responsible for many millions of female fetus and infant deaths. The problem is most acute in China and India, the most populous countries in the world. These countries have a strict population control policy coupled with a strong culture of male supremacy, and gendercide is continuing to occur with alarming regularity there. In all cases, female infanticide is an indication of the low status accorded to women in many parts of the world.

In January 2010 the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences demonstrated what can happen to China if girl babies are killed. Within ten years, the Academy reported, 1 in 5 young men would be unable to find a bride because of the reduced numbers of young women (this is a figure unprecedented in a country at peace – compare the shortage of marriageable young men after the first world war in Europe!). In China, a specific word “guanggun” (meaning bare branches) describes this shortage of bachelors. The shortage of females seems to have become more acute between 1990 and 2005, amongst other factors, linked to the one-child policy, (introduced in 1979).

Unfortunately, China is not the only country affected by gendercide. Parts of India have sex ratios as skewed as anything in China. In other East Asian countries, like South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan there are also high numbers of male births compared to female. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, former communist countries in the Caucasus and the western Balkans show a strong preponderance of male births. The traditional patriarchal values of these societies seemingly have been revived as soon as the communist regime was overthrown.

Social scientists are predicting all sorts of consequences that will arise in these societies once the shortage of females becomes widespread. Women may become a commodity, especially in terms of their social and reproductive functions. Prostitution is likely to rise, warn the experts, as will rape and homosexuality amongst the males. A trade in stolen children and nubile women may also be an observed effect.

Once again, the inhumanity of humankind astounds me.

The Wagoner’s Lad

Oh hard is the fortune of all womankind
They’re always controlled, they're always confined
Confined by their parents until they are wives
Then slaves to their husbands for the rest of their lives.

Oh I am a poor girl, my fortune is sad
I’ve always been courted by the Wagoner’s Lad
He’s courted me daily, by night and by day
And now he is loaded and going away.

"Your parents don’t like me because I am poor
They say I’m not worthy of entering your door
But I work for a living, my money's my own
And if they don’t like it, they can leave me alone"

"Your horses are hungry, go feed them some hay
Come sit down beside me as long as you stay"
"My horses ain’t hungry, they won’t eat your hay
So fare thee well darling I’ll be on my way".

Oh hard is the fortune of all womankind
They’re always controlled, they’re always confined
Confined by their parents until they are wives
Then slaves to their husbands for the rest of their lives…
                                                                          British folksong

1 comment:

  1. What a terrible situation!!! I hope they are not still doing it, are they???