“Asia: Heirs and spares”

July 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

Indian brideThis article in the Financial Times discusses the social, political, and economic implications of Asia’s “missing women”:

Asia: Heirs and spares

By Amy Kazmin, Patti Waldmeir and Girija Shivakumar

The political, economic and social consequences of a preference for sons is alarming policymakers
 
 In the Indian farming village of Medina, 200km from Delhi, the narrow lanes are clogged with high-end sport utility vehicles, reflecting the prosperity brought by rising land values to this traditional community. In their mud-floored homes, residents display flatscreen televisions, refrigerators and other modern conveniences.

But Medina’s families are also using their new wealth to acquire a scarce local commodity: teenage girls to act as wives for the community’s growing cohorts of unmarried men.

A shortage of young women arising from decades of aggressive use of sex-selective abortion in northern breadbasket states – including Haryana, where Medina is located – is prompting families to turn to the impoverished east to secure females. Communities once fussy about caste are now prepared to buy young girls who do not even speak their language, though such unions are usually without formal weddings. “At first, people were ashamed of bringing wives from outside, but now they don’t care – they pay and they bring,” says Ram Niwas, 68. “A woman is a child-bearing machine. Her only work is to bear children and cook.”

Read the full article: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/54751678-ab1a-11e0-b4d8-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1S0F4Y9yv

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