In writing this blog, I’ve become pretty adept at ferreting out news about women but it is still a very daunting task in some instances, notably countries where there is very little internet access and countries with repressive regimes, China is a notable example–a search on Google comes up with very little in terms of reports of rape or violence against women–search terms that would yield huge results in the United States. I was therefore very excited to see Marcy Bloom’s post on RH Reality Check about women’s human rights in China. Here are a few snippets, but be sure to click the link and read the entire piece.
“In January 2007, respected Chinese journalist Li Xing wrote: “I have been trying hard to help my readers understand that fact that discrimination against women and attitudes of male chauvinism are…continuing to hurt Chinese women.” She further declared that the general media have not been much help in getting rid of traditional stereotypes against women. For example, the January 2007 media coverage of a report from the State Population and Family Planning Commission indicated that for every 100 baby girls born in 2005, there were 118.58 baby boys. In some provinces, the gap is even more severe–130 baby boys for every 100 girls. This startling disparity is expected to widen, with serious concerns for the survival of girls, as well as social stability. However, according to Li, most of the Chinese media reports were concerned solely with the impact on men, highlighting the fact that by 2020, 30 million Chinese men will find it impossible to find a wife. Li questioned where the focus was for women’s lives, health, rights, and well-being because of this polarizing gender imbalance. She emphasized: “As far as the root of the matter is concerned, news media just stop short of condemning the traditional male chauvinism [and women’s inequality] entrenched in Chinese culture, as if it is something we can do little about.””
“China’s growing gender-ratio disparity is a result of the restrictive implementation of its family planning policies and the deep cultural prevalence for male children. Some officials have admitted that the one-child policy has “aggravated the imbalance,” as the restrictions have led to sex-selective abortions that have overwhelmingly caused the abortion of female fetuses.
According to a United Nations official: “The shortage of women will have enormous implications on China’s social, economic, and development future…The skewed ratio of men to women will have an impact on the sex industry and human trafficking,” as well as family, societal, and regional stability.”
As Bloom notes in her post, the news is not all bad, pointing to the Care For Girls initiative and economic support for girl-only families, but clearly the human rights situation for women is a topic that remains far too firmly hidden in the shadows.