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Gender imbalance and rural families: China’s growing problem

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  1. Introduction
  2. The gender ratio in China
  3. The One-Child policy: A review
  4. The production of inexpensive ultrasound machine
  5. The problems faced by China
  6. The welfare programs by Chinese government
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Post-World War II China produced a large number of babies as a part of the baby boomer generation. As a result, the most heavily populated country in the world experienced an exponential growth in their population unlike any other in the world. Because of the fear of depleting their already scarce food and water supply, the Chinese government implemented the One-Child Policy in 1979 (Wiseman 2002). Even though China is still leading the world population wise, with approximately 1.3 billion people, there is no doubt that the One-Child Policy has served to prevent that number from being up to three hundred million people more (Kahn 2004). However, many consequences have resulted from this policy, the most pressing one being the increasing gender imbalance.

As announced by the Chinese government in January 2005, the nationwide gender ratio is 119 boys per 100 girls born, while the rest of the world reports 105 boys born per 100 girls (Yardley 2005). This disparity is largely contributed to the high demand for males in rural areas, which make of seventy percent of China's total population (Junhong, pp. 262, 2001).

[...] At the Lanxi Middle School in Southeastern China, free tuition is provided to girls from poor families and those belonging to families of two girls (Yardley 2005). Changes like these are to emphasize the importance of women in society and to promote gender equity. China's initial overpopulation problem has led to population control measures (explicitly the One-Child Policy) that have in turn led to a gender imbalance that harms the future of the entire nation. The success and failure of the country is dependent on the correction of these problems. [...]


[...] Traditionally, rural families are large and full of sons so that everyone can contribute to the success of their agricultural endeavors: many men and boys to do physical labor, many women and girls to help with domestic matters around the house (Rosenthal 2003). More males are always favored because they can carry on family legacies through their name and inherit the land that their families cultivate. Also, boys are prized for their ability to do more laborious work on the farm; they contribute more to the family income (Yardley 2005). [...]

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