The One-Child policy, which was introduced in 1987 for population control, is a family planning policy that restricts Chinese citizens from having more than one child. This means that every family that lives in China cannot have more than one child, regardless of what they want. Under this 36% of the Chinese population were subjected to one-child restriction (as ethnic minorities were exempt along with some other exceptions) and from this 53 percent could have a second child if the first child was a girl.
Kind of brings out the sexism amongst Chinese (which in no way is restricted to only Chinese), doesn’t it?
China is one of the many Asian countries that fervently prefer a son over a daughter. So much so that they go through sex selective abortion (or female feticide) just so that their first child can be a boy. This is largely because the girl child is considered a burden and also there is very little safety for the average women in China from sexual violence.
This one child policy, that had been introduced with the sentiment of socio-economic development and population control, lead to an imbalance in the female to male ratio in China.
A lot of the families who had been subjected to the strict one child policy began having abortions if the fetus was declared female, in the hopes of getting a male child.
It was reported in 2012 that there were eighteen million more boys than girls under the age of fifteen and in total the Chinese government estimated that there were forty million more males than females in China.
This inordinate imbalance in the female to male ratio (that is still incessantly increasing) is becoming counterproductive to the initial intentions of the government.
If the rate of sex selective abortions continue then in the coming years there may only be one woman for every ten men.
This will reduce the role of women in the economic sphere and it will also bring down their representation in the government. Furthermore, this imbalance will lead to more sexual assault cases and it can also adversely affect the issue of the sale of child brides and child marriage.
It was suggested in October 2005 that the existing one-child policy be changed to a two-child policy. But that will not be enough. China needs to do something more profound to end the problem of sex selective abortion.