How does the population divide along gender lines where you live? Fifty-fifty male to female?
It seems logical, and if you live in one of the developed nations it’s probably true, perhaps with a skew towards women at the geriatric end of the scale, as women tend to have slightly longer life-expectancy than men.
But if you live in a developing country that fifty-fifty ratio may well be way off the mark. In the so-called Third World the ratio of newborn girls to boys is heavily skewed towards girls. It’s a quirk of nature that poor countries produce far more girls than boys.
An evolutionary safeguard.
In countries where infant mortality is high and gender-neutral, nature has put in place a means to ensure the survival of the species. More girls than boys. Put crudely, a single surviving male can fertilise many, many females.
Across Africa one in five newborns will not see their fifth birthday. Many mothers will die in childbirth, probably taking their baby with them. The statistics are chilling similar in other parts of the developing world.
With bitter irony, as the poorer nations see improvements in health care that reduce infant mortality, so they see a population explosion as those many more girls being born than boys come of child-bearing age and, because evolution is slow to catch up, themselves produce far more girls than boys.
It is this, accompanied by ignorance or unavailability of birth control options, or religious or traditional beliefs that eschew birth control, that cause the huge populations we see in the developing nations like India and Indonesia.
In a country like India, where cultural traditions weigh heavily against the girl child (not so very different from our western societies not so very long ago – it’s only very recently that the girl child in America or Europe has had any realistic future beyond getting married and bearing children) the bias against the girl child is one of the biggest problems facing a forward-looking government governing a very conservative society spread across a huge land-mass, much of it still in desperate poverty.
In India the natural imbalance in favour of girls has been turned on its head in recent decades, so that now births of boys are outnumbering girls at an alarming rate.
Not because of natural causes, but because of sex-selective abortion, or female foeticide.
Female foeticide is nothing new. New-born girls being left in the wilderness to die has been happening across the globe since time immemorial.
But the availability of modern ultra-scan equipment to determine gender has resulted, in countries like India, in an horrific surge in illegal abortions of female foetuses.
India’s “Save Girl Child” campaign has long been fighting this problem. One of the ways we can all help fight discrimination against the girl child, in India and globally is simply by raising awareness of the problem.
Here at Ebook Bargains UK we have an active campaign to support, babies, children and families in West Africa, with a clear focus on the girl-child. All proceeds from the newsletters go towards the projects.
But globally we can all do our bit to help, wherever we may be, no matter how cash-strapped our own lives. Just by helping raise awareness.
Do share some of the images here relating to the problems girls face in India.
And as you watch your own daughters or granddaughters complete their education, grow up and blossom into women with a bright future ahead, spare a thought for the countless millions of girl-children around the globe who have nothing to look forward to but grinding poverty and mindless discrimination.
Always assuming they were allowed to be born at all.