"Sex selection defies culture, nationality and creed."
June 10, 2011 7:36 AM Subscribe
"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia
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— or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men
," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More
Ms. Hvistendahl has been a science and/or Asian culture writer for many publications, including Scientific American
, The Chronicle for Higher Education
, Popular Science
. This book grew out of a seemingly-simple magazine article assignment from the Virginia Quarterly Review
to examine gender imbalance in China. When she examined the results of academic research studies for clues as to why and to what extent sex-selective abortion had become common in Asia, more questions arose than answers. See her essay in the Chronicle: A Plea for Real-World Research
Mentioned in the Chronicle essay: Amartya Sen's 1990 groundbreaking piece: More than 100 million women are missing
. Also see his essay from May 12 of this year: Quality of Life: India vs. China
Additional research: The UNFPA has some documents available on "Sex-Ratio Imbalance in Asia: Trends, Consequences and Policy Responses
" They analyze trends in China, India and Nepal.