Monday, January 31, 2005

Ha. Ha. Those Pesky Girls

Fascinating article.

A couple of things: yea, at some point, encouraging people to have one kid and having a premium on having boys, you're eventually going to get into trouble. I was wondering when they'd have to start addressing it:

There is such a glut of boys here - roughly 134 are born for every 100 girls - that the imbalance has forced an unlikely response from the Chinese government. To persuade more families to have girls, it has decided in some cases to pay families that already have daughters.

And, check out this bit at the end of the quoted text, especially, for something very familiar:

On a recent afternoon here in southeastern China, hundreds of students in the dirt courtyard of Lanxi Middle School held a parade rehearsal. The school goes through 12th grade, and about 60 percent of students in the higher grades are male. The marchers, mostly boys, waved flags and kicked dust in the air beside a billboard promoting the latest propaganda campaign: Respect Girls...

Mr. Hu said the exhibition room was supposed to build the self-esteem of girls, though it also seemed intended to impress visiting officials. Still, he said that young women were now eligible for college scholarships and that the number of recent female graduates attending college jumped to 271 in 2004 from 149 in 2003.

Lin Lingling, 18, a plucky senior who has hopes for college, is one of the stars of the program. "They say boys are good at logical things, so when they enter into high school, they say some of them are a lot better," said Ms. Lin, a top student. "But we are the same."

I'm concerned that "encouraging" people to have girls means not only stuff like the above, which is... cool, though worrisome because they feel they need to do it (and they're right), but also by giving families money for having girls. This feels a lot like equating women with property, how many cows are you worth?

Ah, memories, party in South Africa, guy turning to me, "How many cows do you think you're worth?"

Oh, man. Joking or not. Oh, man.

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