Background to the study
Over the previous thirty years, Asia has undergone rapid political, social and economic changes, which have had equally far-reaching implications on the demographic situation. Fast development has had negative impacts on the population growth from high to low or moderate levels, with Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan posting the lowest population declines across the world. While government policies have largely driven the trends in the population, notable in China’s One Child Policy, such policies have as well been informed by equally strong convictions that low fertility helps boost human capital value, which boosts development (Dahlman, Zhihua Zeng and Wang 42). The evidence of abortions of girl pregnancies in China, coupled with incidences of infant killing in India and elsewhere across Asia is worrying. There is evidence of culturally entrenched preferences for boys in Asia as well as other parts of the world such as Mexico, which have in turn resulted into massive gender disparities in the population. This paper assesses the factors that have contributed to the cultural sex preferences as well as a range of other factors that have resulted into a disproportionately high number of boys and men in Asia.
Description and Methodology
There is also a cultural perception that boys and subsequently men are more economically productive as compared to girls/women (Cisnero 209). Men grow to protect and provide for their families and communities. In order prepare them to meet their obligations in society; they are given an education and other social training to be able cope. On the contrary, society expects women to assume a less prominent role in their families and they respectively receive little attention in their families and communities. Where these beliefs are weak, they do not usually translate into radical decisions by parents to abort girl pregnancies or abandon infants. However, under conditions such as the One Child Policy in China, and the strong family planning trends in the fast developing economies in the region, these beliefs have dire consequences on the parents’ and populations’ decisions on sexes.
China’s One Child Policy is perhaps the single most important influence on the continent’s gender preferences, not least because it brings all other cultural beliefs about gender to actual decisions as to the sex of the child to have. With a population of more than a billion people, the beliefs and government policies in China largely represent the entire continent’s situation. China’s population is amongst the largest in the world hence the proposition of the one child policy (Haralambos 76). The imposition of the One Child Policy has led to parents trying to get the children’s sex is male, which has in turn resulted into sex engineering among the middle class, while the poorer populations have resorted to abortions, abandonment and infant killings, in order to ensure that their ‘One’ child is male (Fiske 63). Government policies in Singapore and Hong Kong have recently sought to boost their respective countries’ fertility through the provision of allowances to new mothers, which has increased the population’s attitudes towards gender equality. In the rest of the continent, extreme poverty conditions determine whether families’ decisions as to whether they should educate both boys and girls, depending on the benefits that they will derive from such investments. Girls present a poor prospect to parents, and are never expected by their societies to excel, unless they actually do. As demonstrated by Cisneros (1990), the girl child struggles with an unfavorable culture that ultimately accepts her after she actually succeeded.
Cisneros (1990), depicts a number of factors, other than culture, that influence personal decisions reached by parents as well as the collective decisions made by communities as regards gender equality, which in turn have a bearing on the sex preferences. At a family level; the parent’s personal characteristics including the position of the mother and father and the way that the parents treat children within a family. This has an effect on the children’s sex preferences, with the sex that are perceived as stronger (mostly men) being more preferred to the females.
The methodology that would be employed in the research would have to ensure that all the variables are covered. The methodology would involve sampling the different preferences held by different Asian countries on the issue of the sex preference. Comparing population statistics would be of great significance in the methodology. It would assist in determining the population of boys in comparison to girls in the Asian countries. This would therefore create a basis of determining the boy sex preference in the countries. In getting these data, print media and internet sources would have to be used. The internet would be of great significance because it would provide the current issues in most Asian countries. Interviewing would not be so helpful in this section because the sample population is quite large and would involve a lot of complexities.
Since most of the research would employ the use of online materials, the schedule would be for a considerable period of time. A time frame within which the research would be completely done with most of the gaps filled. The schedule would be spread into a three weeks period within which data would be collected to create a basis for conducting the research. The schedule would have to be well planned so that all the requirements pertaining to the research are covered.
The society has been encroached with hideous ideologies in relation to the preference of the sexes. These ideologies result to the girl child being diminished in the society while the boy child is praised and seen to be of greater value. The reality is that, none of the sexes is greater than the other and boys and girls are equally the same. The ideologies of preferring boys to girls in the society have been widespread in Asia and have resulted to practices which have placed the lives of young girls at risk. As observed, abortion is one of the practices that has been employed once the mother realizes that the unborn is a girl. Policies and society enlightenment would help change these ideologies and transform the societies into safe settings for both the boy and girl child.
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Fiske, Alan Page. Social Relationships in Our Species and Cultures. Kitayama, S. and D
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Haralambos, M. Sociology Themes and Perspectives, New York: Collins Educational, 2004.