Through her study, Elizabeth Croll claims there are ‘missing girls’ in China and South Asia, because of the diminishing ratio of female to male infants in these countries. A common trend throughout these countries; which has contributed to the ‘missing girls’ in statistics, is the belief held that sons are preferred over daughters. This belief is encouraged by the cultures of these countries; boys were believed to be of more importance as they could keep the family name, preventing extinction of the family line whereas women, after marriage, adopt their husbands’ family name and become part of another family. Moreover, especially in the rural villages of China, boys can provide physical labour, and are likely to earn more money and be able to take better care of the parents when they are elderly. As governments in these nations have attempted to exercise more stringent population restrictions and family planning policies; there has been a rise in discrimination towards female infants, further emphasising the notion of new born girls being ‘unwanted’.
In China, specifically, studies have shown an increasing imbalance in the number of boys born per 100 girls; confirming millions of girls missing from statistics. This growing imbalance has drawn attention to discrimination against female infants, evident in the treatment of them. With the increased sex ratios, it has been said that there may have been an underreporting of female births; dismissing them from the statistics. However, when Chinese demographers, such as Peng Xizhe, adjusted the sex ratio the difference was an insignificant 5%. Thus it can be conferred that these female infants do not survive pregnancy or birth. It is clear that forms of discrimination are present, which affect daughters before, during, and after birth. These include abandonment, infanticide, sex-selective abortions, and child neglect.
Female abandonment and adoption were common in China; girls were sent away, abandoned, or loaned...
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