Female Gendercide: Female Empowerment Is Needed To Offset Culturally Skewed Sex Ratios


Female gendercide refers to the systematic killing of women. According to the Gendercide Awareness Project, we lose 3.5 million women and girls to Gendercide a year. That’s 400 females per hour. Indian Economist, Amartya Sen, in 1990 stated that there were 100 million missing women worldwide. The UNFPA recently announced that 117 million women are missing. Gendercide affects the majority of people throughout the world.

UN Women funds two projects in an attempt to rectify this horrendous global issue: one for violence against women and the other for gender equality. UN conferences regularly discuss potential solutions to these issues. However, the Gendercide Awareness Project states that UN Women is effective at monitoring the problem, but is ineffective at changing behaviours. This article will explore effective mechanisms that exist today within states that function to rectify behaviours that contribute to female gendercide and hence reduce it.

The Economist (2010) states that sex ratios have skewed significantly towards a male preference. The Economist (2010) found: 1) many couples are choosing to abort the daughter, to try for a son; 2) “traditional mores are influential and dictate a preference for a boy over a girl and, 3) boys can be seen as more financially lucrative and overall provide greater value for a small, middle-class family as they don’t require “…a dowry, they may inherit land,” and they may provide invaluable labour for the family business. It has been found that in China and Northern India for every 100 girls, 120 boys are being born. And this is only rising. In China in the 1980s, 108 boys to 100 girls were being born. In the 2000s this rose to 124 to 100 and, in some Chinese provinces, an unprecedented rate of 130 to 100 was found. In nature, slightly fewer girls are born than boys to offset males’ greater susceptibility to infant disease. Current trends show that the gender ratios are significantly beyond nature and demonstrate that cultural influences are skewing them.

Moreover, economic success is not linked with better gender ratios. The Economist (2010) states that “the richest, best-educated areas within India and China have the worst sex ratios;” and “Taiwan and Singapore, who have open, rich economies [also] have poor sex ratios.”

Consensus remains that female empowerment is the best way forward. All countries need to raise the value of women. Mao Zedong stated, “women hold up half the sky.” All countries should abolish customs and laws that stop women inheriting property, encourage education of girls, enhance female participation in public life and work harder to rectify the impossible sex ratios in hospitals and clinics.

South Korea has gained traction on this issue. In the 1990s, they had equal if not worse sex ratios. Nowadays it is not so skewed due to the state undergoing a cultural transformation. Anti-discrimination suits, female education, and equal rights rulings now have lessened parents’ preference for a son over a daughter.

Despite this, gender inequality still exists in South Korea. Only 16.3% of women occupy the entire political congress. South Korea ranks 125th out of 142 countries in the category of equal pay for similar work. Women occupy a mere 1% of companies’ board of directors. South Korea clearly needs to enhance female participation in public life. However, as the equalization of their sex ratios demonstrates that they are off to a good start and other countries need to follow too.

Lucas Mirani

Lucas Mirani

Lucas Mirani is a 23 year old university student at the Australian National University. He is majoring in Psychology and Asia-Pacific Security Studies and wants to work in foreign affairs.
Lucas Mirani

About Lucas Mirani

Lucas Mirani is a 23 year old university student at the Australian National University. He is majoring in Psychology and Asia-Pacific Security Studies and wants to work in foreign affairs.