The [Korea] girls are back in town

New Internationalists – Tuesday, 15 October 2013 (originally published Oct 2013)

Oh-Han exercising with weights
As women have become more empowered, more baby girls have been born. Image: Lee JAe-Won/Reuters

Oh-Han is an advocate for women’s rights in South Korea. The 53-year-old recalls the pouches of traditional medicine you could easily get, not so long ago, that were supposed to help you conceive a son or abort a girl.

But all that has changed, she tells journalist Sung So-Young of the Korea JoongAng Daily. Today, ‘a mother of two daughters or more is the envy of every woman,’ she says.

It’s an extraordinary turnaround. In 1990 Korea recorded 116 boys being born for every 100 girls – the most distorted ratio in the world at the time. By 1992 it had risen to 117. But then the trend went into reverse – and fast. By 2000 it was down to 109 boys per 100 girls; and by 2007 it was back to almost normal again . . .

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