China stuck in a gender balance time warp

Carolynne Wheeler – The Globe and Mail – Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Children napping
Children take a nap at a kindergarten in Zhengzhou in this 2006 photo. World Bank researchers found that China should have had 1.2 million more baby girls than were actually born in 2008. Image: Reeuters

Among developing nations, China is modernizing by leaps and bounds — its economy still growing fast, its railways converting to high speed, its road networks growing, and skyscrapers lining its city streets.

Yet there is one area in which China is still lagging desperately behind even the poorest nations, and that is gender balance.

The World Bank’s 2012 World Development report, released this week, shows that of the nearly four million women “missing” from the world’s population each year — lost as aborted female fetuses, as babies who die or are killed at birth, as children without access to proper health care or as women dying in childbirth — more than one million of them are missing from China . . .

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