It’s Raining Men Time Bomb- Sex selective abortion, prenatal sex determination

The unstable future of a world full of men

AFPBy Giles Hewitt | AFP

 As the global population hits seven billion, experts are warning that skewed gender ratios could fuel the emergence of volatile “bachelor nations” driven by an aggressive competition for brides.

But many demographers believe the resulting shortage of adult women over the next 50 years will have as deep and pervasive an impact as climate change.

The statistics behind the warnings are grimly compelling.

In India and Vietnam the figure is around 112 boys for every 100 girls. In China it is almost 120 to 100 — and in some places higher than 130.

And the trend is spreading: to regions like the South Caucasus, where Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia all post birth ratios of more than 115 to 100, and further west to Serbia and Bosnia.

6th century

Global awareness of the problem was raised back in 1990 with an article by the Nobel prize-winning Indian economist Amartya Sen that carried the now famous title: “More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing.”

Demographers say that figure is now more than 160 million — women selected out of existence by the convergence of traditional preferences for sons, declining fertility and, most crucially, the prevalence of cheap prenatal sex-determination technology.

As many as half a million female foetuses are estimated to be aborted each year in India, according to a study by British medical journal The Lancet.

“Earlier villagers had to go to the city to get a sonogram (ultrasound),”
said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the non-profit Population Foundation of India. “Today sonographers are going into the villages to cater to people who want sons.”

Even if the sex ratio at birth returned to normal in India and China within 10 years, Guilmoto says men in both countries would still face a “marriage squeeze” for decades to come.

“Not only would these men have to marry significantly older, but this growing marriage imbalance would also lead to a rapid rise in male bachelorhood… an important change in countries where almost everyone used to get married,” he said.

How that change might manifest itself is hotly debated, although nearly
everyone agrees there is no foreseeable upside.

Population growth

Image by eutrophication&hypoxia

Some forecast an increase in polyandry and sex tourism, while others predict cataclysmic scenarios with the rise of male-surplus societies where sexual predation, violence and conflict are the norm.

A particularly alarmist note was sounded several years ago by political
scientists Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer, who wrote that Asian countries with too many men posed a security threat to the West.

“High-sex-ratio societies are governable only by authoritarian regimes
capable of suppressing violence at home and exporting it abroad through
colonisation or war,” they said.

Mara Hvistendahl, a correspondent for Science magazine and author of the recently published “Unnatural Selection“, says fears of full-scale wars are unfounded, and points out that India remains a thriving democracy, despite its shockingly high gender imbalance.

However she does agree with the underlying premise.

“Historically, societies in which men substantially outnumber women are not nice places to live,” Hvistendahl stressed.

“Often they are unstable. Sometimes they are violent,” she said, adding that leaders in both China and India have spoken of the threat gender imbalance poses to social stability.

UN agencies have issued similar warnings about the correlation between a scarcity of women and increases in sex trafficking and marriage migration, albeit with certain caveats.

“The data is really limited,” said Nobuko Horibe, Asia-Pacific director of
the UN Population Fund. “It is very likely that this marriage squeeze would lead to these phenomena… but it’s very anecdotal at this stage.”

Population  Bloom

Image by Earthworm

But while more and more red flags are being raised over the long-term
implication of skewed sex ratios, few solutions are being offered.

Sex-selective abortion is illegal in both China and India, but officials say
the law is incredibly difficult to enforce.

There is “no silver bullet”, admits Guilmoto, who believes the first priority
is to make sure the problem is properly publicised — and not just in the
developing world.

“In some countries in eastern Europe, people are absolutely not aware of what is going on,” he warned.


4 thoughts on “It’s Raining Men Time Bomb- Sex selective abortion, prenatal sex determination

  1. I’m glad someone else thinks this is important, whenever I talk about such subjects people go blank and it’s ‘yeah it’s a shame, oh well’ and over their head. Actually anytime I bring any issue up it’s ‘that’s too deep for me’.

    There is also a fair amount of focus on the ‘decreasing male’ i.e. low fertility rates in men due to environment/food/consumed products/medicine but the issue of unnatural and polluted lifestyle includes females too. The issue of not wanting female children has been rampant for centuries if not millenia and the most obvious culprits are the ones still obviously at it today and mentioned in the article. Females have been objectified as property/assets for a long time and also seen as more hassle because they carry do the child bearing, but at the same time for that same reason they’ve been used as a controllable resource and controlling the numbers limits the possible success of an overhaul in that way of thinking/behaving. Even with ‘modernisation’ where women are educated and work in the same way as males, they are still seen as less able to work, not as strong, and will need supporting if they have children – this is off putting to employers and governments even though that’s just the way of the species, people are being hired not robots but shows itself in the poorer classes where women are on average poorer than men due to having families and/or being paid less on average. Women are see as burdensome creators, a consequence of being vessels for pleasure. Many have also become almost as condescending and unhelpful to other women as the men who are misogynists. So what is it these people who selectively choose boys over girls, encourage that mindset and have been part of such long standing traditions, want? What is their goal – do they expect men to somehow take over reproduction or do they want a smaller, more controllable source of women to constantly be hooked up as breeding machines so to speak with a limited number of elite women who won’t have to be part of the process but would be the privileged wives/mistresses? Will women be treated as cows, bred and bred, used for milk, have their children taken away from them, work until they can take no more and then slaughtered for meat, leather and other bi-products? I wonder. India for example. holds the cow sacred (or part of India now) as the holy representation of giving without receiving, unconditional love and nurturing and yet they still have dairy and leather production – much of the proportion of leather manufacturers in the West where Indians migrated to were owned and populated by Indians. If that’s how they treat the sacred cow, a symbol of motherhood – how will they treat the human mother? Where is all this leading, it’s been going on for so long, is there a bigger objective?

    The world sees genocide everyday and the killing en masse of animals and the environment. When will this craziness end.

  2. Let’s hope rational minds and wisdom prevail. There are some good things turning such as IBM hiring it’s 1st female CEO and other things of note that show the value of women as totally equal. Did you know that women possess both x and y x chromosones where as men only possess one. I read a paper a good while back about the possibilities of women being able to produce offspring without the need of a male because they possess both male and female chromosones. Anyway, I happen to be a guy and hope we can all learn and appreciate rhe value of each other. It’s ignorance and pure silliness to do otherwise. Thanks for your thoughtful and thought provoking comment.

  3. I suppose, no matter how hard we work to change, ultimately we only have hope which I find worrying as hope was the negative trait left in Pandora’s box, I know many people see it as a good thing but I view it as a trickster – it can work prevail but most of the time it is disabling and disappointing. Hmm I think I’ll look to re-assimilation with the void as our ultimate salvation 😉

    Yes, I’ve read about females reproducing by themselves, especially cases in amphibians and reptiles though it’s apparently possible for any female and usually happens in communities where the males have died out or been vastly reduced but there have been individual cases. There’s also been cases where the opposite has happened, in cases where there were lack of females, males have apparently reverted into females. My understanding however is that females have XX chromosomes and the male was a mutation changing into XY, whereby all embryos start off as female and sex is determined later on once a mutation has occured or the original has remained in tact.

    I think there was one simple, universal rule in ethics that should/could have been followed ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’ and we have been an epic fail. I don’t think any amount of atonement can make up for that, the victimization will always be embedded in the memory, of individuals, of the collective, genetically/species wise, in earth’s crystal and physical ‘muscle’/geological memory and in the memory of any greater system that we are part of.

    You have an awesome blog btw – makes interesting reading..

  4. I believe you are correct on the chromosomes. I read about that a long time ago and what you say seems to be my memory now of what I had read.
    All illnesses aren’t death- I have faith that as humankind evolves we will better ourselves and our condition, Ignorance is our greatest enemy. Thanks for liking this blog.

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