Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gendercide--it's not technology or policies

Recently The Economist focused on the worldwide phenomenon of Bare Branches. That's the epithet awarded Chinese men who can't find wives, an occurrence which is happening more and more. The normal birth ratio (108 boys to 100 girls) has become skewed. In some parts of China 130 boys are born for every 100 girls. It's estimated that in ten years China will have as many bachelors as there are young males in America.
Imagine.
That's a lot of bachelors--and that's just from China.
According to The Economist "Gendercide exists on almost every continent. It affects the rich and poor; educated and illiterate; Hindu, Muslim, Confucian and Christian alike."
Fifteen years ago, China and India tried to stem the overflow of boys by making gender-based abortions illegal. That didn't help.
"The destruction of baby girls is a product of three forces:
the ancient preference for sons,
a modern desire for smaller families,
and ultrasound scanning..."
It appears that the first force is the strongest. The only east Asian country which has been able to reverse the skewed birth ratio is South Korea. They reversed their long-held cultural preference for boys and --miracle of miracles--more girls were born.

For more, read the March 4th Issue of the Economist:
The Worldwide War On Baby Girls, Gendercide and Sobs on the Night.

2 comments:

beckylevine said...

Wow, Jana. Do you knwo where the U.S. falls in this pattern?

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

Actually, most of the US has a pretty average range, but there are sections of the US which have significantly higher ratios of boys than girls--mostly among the Asian population. What's striking is that level of education and wealth have little effect---it's the culture/tradition that has a stranglehold.

What People Are Saying About My Half of the Sky

My Half of the Sky was the BookSense Pick for August 2006 as well as a Forbes Book Club Pick.

"McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system."
Mary Warpeha, co-President of the Minnesota Chapter of US-China Friendship Association
March 2010


"The novel ...includes many of the tales and the folk ways of the people living in the rural areas of South China, still followed provincially. The story takes place in current China, but could relate the dilemma of any young woman in rural China through the ages."
Kitty Trescott, National Board of the Midwest Region of US-China Friendship Association. March 2010

"A lot is expected of a young Chinese girl. My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin is the story of Li Hui, a young girl who has just achieved marriageable age. She seeks to make the most of herself, but the expectations all around her make it difficult, as her parents seek to use her as pawn to their advantage, she is faced with what she believes to be true love. She must balance career, romance, and family, all to somehow make everyone happy, a tough endeavor indeed. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, "My Half of the Sky" is a poignant tale of the modern Chinese woman, and recommended for community library collections.
--Midwest Book Review November, 2008

“It is a rare women’s novel that sensitively describes the life of a young educated woman in modern-day China in its full complexity, without resorting to unnecessary sentimentalism. Jana’s deep knowledge of the realities of life in China and Singapore makes the reading extra rewarding. In fact, with every new page the novel gets harder to put down and you find yourself gobbling it up before you know it. Finally, the author has given a voice to the Li Hui in all of us, as we struggle for the golden middle between tradition and the modern momentum of our world.”
Isabella Sluzek
Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008
Singapore

You'll be rooting all the way for Li Hui as she struggles, ahead of the curve, to be her own woman in an emerging, modern China. Jana McBurney-Lin's My half of the Sky is a beautiful, witty, touching debut novel.
Thomas B. Sawyer
Head Writer TV Series "Murder, She Wrote,"
Author - The Sixteenth Man


A complex and mesmerizingly original tale of a young Chinese woman caught between the modern world and the pull of her ancient culture. McBurney-Lin’s intimate portrait of China sparks with insights and is peopled with characters so rich and alive, they seem to breathe on the page. Dazzling and unforgettable.
Caroline Leavitt,
Author - Girls in Trouble

McBurney-Lin's debut novel is a gift. Li Hui is a memorable heroine, a young woman torn between her heart and her culture.Her daunting journey is a trip into China's complicated soul, and a deeply moving exploration of love, honor, duty, and loss." Frank Baldwin, Author - Balling the Jack


My Half of the Sky is a wonderfully-crafted story that was obviously written with a piece of McBurney-Lin's heart. A masterpiece."
Lee Lofland, Author - Howdunit: Police Procedure and Investigation


My Half of the Sky heralds the arrival of a fantastic new storyteller. With artistry and precision, Jana McBurney-Lin's clear-eyed prose takes the reader on a new journey into a past world that speaks to a modern sensibility, a modern world, a modern woman. This is a book to be treasured.
Emily Rapp, Author - The Poster Child


Through vivid descriptions of sights and smells, Jana McBurney-Lin's My Half of the Sky is a haunting, emotional journey of what it means to be an honorable female in modern China. Jill Ferguson, Author - Sometimes Art Can't Save You