So, there are a lot more boys than girls in China now. Everyone knows this. Though it’s hit the news again recently. China’s government is even concerned enough about the disparity to start trying to convince citizens to allow more girl children to be born alive. Though they’re not likely to be successful in a culture where the idea of the value of sons is so deep seated and long standing.
I can’t help wondering however if there is something that will change China in it’s perception of gender roles after all. Let’s think about this for a moment.
Yes, bad things are likely to happen. More women trafficked into China, higher prostitution rates, and the kidnapping of girls to be raised as child brides for those who can afford to do so. These are horrible and should not happen.
However, consider this. Assuming all things stay equal and the rule of “law” in China continues, in 20 years, those boys will all be men and looking for wives. Only, there will not be enough women for all of them to marry. Parents of girls may suddenly find themselves in a position of considerable influence. Suddenly, having a daughter, rather than a son may be a good thing. Each girl could have more than 10 men vying for her hand.
This could be competition considerable enough that the old ideas of a woman’s parents paying a dowry no longer apply. The onus will be on the family of the man to prove him eligible for a change. Women will be able to choose, more than they ever have before in China, whom they would like to marry. Parents of women will be in the seat of power, with all the chips.
Consider what this could do, in a generation or less, to a culture that weighs everyone, especially girls, on their commercial value to the family.
I can’t help wondering if the corner that China finds itself painted into may not be the exact kind of trap necessary to change a centuries old deep seated gender imbalance. It could happen in fewer than 40 years.
Could it be that, setting aside the tragic, evil past of gendercide, the current gender disparity in China could be a good thing in the long run?
I certainly pray it is so.
What do you think?