Sunday, June 19, 2011

Deselecting girls -- choices and consequences

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal, the weekend edition, contained a book review by Jonathan Last about Mara Hvistendahl's Book, Unnatural Selection; Choosing Boys over Girl and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. Hvistendahl writes about countries which regulate, promote or condone the preferential birthing of boys.  As my readers know, my mystery,  A POINTED DEATH, deals with this subject, although I can't say how as it might spoil the plot for you. The author makes several frightening points. Some really big countries like China and India are involved in sex selection favoring males, the anti-girl families are the rich ones not the poor, and societies with more men tend to be more violent. She also note that cultures with fewer women don't hold females more dear, rather the opposite, the women are more likely to be exploited. Also, she notes, big countries with too many men steal women from small countries.

Both the author and the reviewer ponder the impact of gendercide on the right to have an abortion. One result might be the narrowing or loss of abortion rights. I would prefer to focus less on the fear of losing rights and more on changing for the better the perceived value of women.

It is sad to contemplate the prospects of women in countries where political, economic and cultural constraints make having daughters such an undesirable outcome. We need a lot of wattage to shine the beacon of female equality, opportunity, intellect and productivity into the dark corners of the globe.

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