A headline in the New York Times, 11/5/91 read: “Stark Data on Women: 100 Million are Missing.” Actually, it was not 100 million women who were missing. It was 100 million children––girl children. “At least 60 million females in Asia are missing and feared dead, victims of nothing more than their sex,” the article continued. It seems that Asian countries, especially China and India, have noted markedly skewed ratios of boys to girls in recent years.

Under normal circumstances, the ratio of boy births to girl births the world over is about 105 to 100, but this ratio is evened up as the years go by, more boys dying at every age after birth. However, in the Asian countries such as China and India, boys have traditionally been preferred so that even as far back as 1953 boy children outnumbered girl children by about 108 to 100, due primarily to female infanticide or neglect.

A more recent New York Times piece (July 12, 1993) reported a dramatic increase in the ratio of boys to girls with such shocking preliminary statistics that authorities ordered them kept secret. The culprit is apparently the ultrasound scanner. A peasant in Xiamen, China, reported: “Last year we had only one girl born in the village–everybody else had boys.” For a bribe of $35 or a carton of cigarettes, a doctor could be coaxed to reveal the sex of the child and “If it’s a girl, you get an abortion.” China’s shocking statistics may soon reach 120 boys for each 100 girls, according to a Chinese think-tank. In South Korea a ratio of 116 boys to 100 girls was reported in 1990 but is now shifting toward parity with a ratio of 107 boys for every 100 girls. Read the rest of this entry »