A hallowed void
there is no voice
stilled by night
her innermost parts
A hollow gourd
there is no bone
ripped from his side
remnant found wanting
A sacred tomb
there is no fruit
no need to look
for they are not there
S. L. Margaret
"So what can explain the spread of sex-selection practices in the 21st century? Why would there be more, rather than less, culling of girls in this day and age? Demographers John Bongaarts and Christophe Guilmoto have asserted that sex ratios among the population will rise in the presence of three factors: son preference, declining fertility, and access to sex-selective technology.
They’re right, but that is not the whole story. Consider Kosovo and its neighbors Serbia and Bosnia, which all share these characteristics. Sex ratios are abnormal in the first and normal in the other two. So, what is behind the difference?
Our own recent research has led us to examine how patrilineality —organizing societies through the father’s lineage — intersects with the quest for individual security in these nations. In a sense, there are but two answers to this question of how to stay safe in a dangerous world: a central government upheld by rule of law — or the strength and arms of one’s kinsmen. While some societies have long enjoyed meaningful rule of law backed by state enforcement, others have endured weak governments veneered over a much sturdier foundation of kinship-provided security. As governments become increasingly incapable of providing security, clans step in to fill the void.
Clan governance is almost always patrilineal in nature. This is because the primacy of the patriline ensures that the group’s men are bound by blood ties, making trust possible in situations where life and death are at stake. Brothers and male cousins are far more reliable than government functionaries in a pinch.
This turn, however, has deeply gendered consequences. In these clan-based societies, women’s interests must be subordinated in order for patrilineality to maintain its hold over society. Our research, published in the August issue of the American Political Science Review, has shown a “syndrome” of such subordination in clan-governed societies, where women have few or no property rights, rights to divorce, rights to child custody, rights to choose a marriage partner, rights to live apart from her husband’s family, or rights to live free from domestic violence. In these societies, son preference is not just present; it is overwhelming in nature, coloring every aspect of the society."
Read article by Valerie Hudson and Andrea Den Boer from Foreign Policy.
Does the behavior of the upper classes in South Asia perpetuate gendercide? Read a thoughtful examination from Sabiha Tanvir in Dallas, Texas and send your own thoughts on the subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish responses that are civil and factually correct.
"Over the past 25 years, more than 15 million girls have been eliminated because of determination of foetal sex before birth. This was the outcome of at least 45 million medical crimes of determination and elimination. Sex selection was introduced in India as a method to control population growth. The department of reproductive physiology was set up in 1970 in AIIMS by a doctor from the Population Council, New York and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The research published in the medical journal, Indian Pediatrics, in 1975 argued that the excess girls born, for a son, was unnecessary fecundity and that elimination of girls would lead to population control.
Following concerns of discrimination against women, sex determination was banned in Delhi government hospitals in 1978. But this practice spread into the private sector. Leading newspapers in Delhi carried advertisements for ultrasound sex determination in the late 1980s. Punjab clinics opened sister clinics in Delhi, asserting that they had 10 years of expertise in determining sex. The medical geneticist who taught genetics students in Guru Nanak University, Amritsar in the 1980s would announce at global genetics conferences that foetal sex determination would prevent women from dowry deaths and other forms of violence."
Read article by Sabu M. George from Indian Express.
"Last October, China ended its 35-year-old policy of restricting most urban families to one child. Commonly referred to as the "one-child" policy, the restrictions were actually a collection of rules that governed how many children married couples could have.
"The basic idea was to encourage everybody, by coercion if necessary, to keep to ... one child," journalist Mei Fong tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Fong explores the wide-ranging impact of what she calls the world's "most radical experiment" in her new book, One Child. She says that among the policy's unintended consequences is an acute gender imbalance."
Read article from NPR.
Here you see a 90-second walk-through of our Gendap art exhibit at Austin College. This is just 45% of our full exhibit, representing slightly less than half of the 117 million missing women. The full exhibit is planned for Fall 2016. Many thanks to photographer Nate Essin and to Austin College for this wonderful video!
"On Thursday morning, John F. Kerry issued a statement that said the Islamic State militant group had committed atrocities against minority groups in Iraq and Syria that constitute genocide. The U.S. secretary of state's comments marked the first such U.S. declaration since 2004, when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said the killings taking place in Sudan's Darfur region amounted to genocide.
The concept of genocide carries a lot of weight in international law. The 1948 U.N. convention on genocide requires signatories to work to prevent genocide and punish perpetrators when it does occur.
However, while the United Nations defines the term as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group," it does not cover systematic violence against a particular sex. And according to one French lawmaker, the violence being committed by the Islamic State against women is so systematic and so ferocious that it needs a new term in international law to define it: femicide."
Read article by Adam Taylor from The Washington Post.
"SEOUL—A cultural preference for male children has cost Asia dearly. Count up all the girls who were never born because of selective abortion, victims of infanticide and females who died from neglect and there are upwards of 100 million women missing on the continent today by some estimates.
Not just a human-rights catastrophe, it is also a looming demographic disaster. With Asian birthrates already plummeting, that is tens of millions of women who will never be mothers. The economic and social impact on some of the world’s largest countries is incalculable."
Read article by Geeta Anand And Jaeyeon Woo from The Wall Street Journal.
"China's one-child policy, once called the Great Wall of family planning, was among the boldest strategies any nation has adopted in modern times to manage the size of its population. But after 35 years in force, experts say, the policy was having undesirable side effects: It upended traditional structures for supporting older adults and led to a widening imbalance in the number of men and women, one that sow social unrest."
Read article by Karen Zraick from The New York Times.
Gendercide Awareness Project is a nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness of the problem of gendercide, the elimination of females.