PRI Review

From the Countries

Chinese Learn Girls Are Important

The Chinese are being taught the importance of females in society. After 20 years of the one-child family policy, and triggering a preference for male offspring only, local governments with support from the Information, Education and Communication Department of the National Population and Family Planning Commission and the Population and Economic Research Institute of Xi’an Jiaotong University, initiated the “Care for Girls” program. In “Care for Girls,” lectures are given on gender equality to help relieve the bias against girls and on skills to help educate women on how they can contribute to the family income. Small loans are given to families with daughters only to help with their schooling and to develop small businesses. Girls are also now being given health exams.

The activities are meant to eliminate the bias against female children in hopes of increasing the survival rate of newborn females to return the female/male ratio to a normal level. Since the mid-1990s, the disparity between the sexes at birth has been a concern of demographers. Universally, the normal ratio between baby girls and boys is 100 females to 103/107 males; in some parts of China it is now 100 females to 130 males.

The desire for male offspring, a traditional cultural factor, has given rise to many abortions for reasons of sex selection. In addition, survival through early life for females is lower than for males. Males are delivered in hospitals while females are usually born at home; boys are better fed; boys are sent to the hospital when ill while girls often must rely on their own resistance to remain healthy.

“‘Care for Girls’ Gaining Momentum,” China Daily, 7 August 2004, www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-07/08/content_346700.htm.

AIDS and Hormones for Women

An experimental drug in the form of a vaginal gel is being tested on female monkeys to prevent the HIV virus from gaining access to the body. The drug works by preventing the virus from penetrating a woman’s cells.

In many parts of the world, the rise in HIV/AIDS is higher among women than men (60% in sub-Saharan Africa); one-half of adults with AIDS are now female whereas women comprised 41% of victims in 1997, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS.

Researchers have tested the drug by giving monkeys a hormone to make them more vulnerable to HIV infections and then administering the experimental drug before exposing the monkeys to a high dose of the AIDS virus. The results were favorable, but it will be some time before the drug can be used on humans.

Editor’s Comment: They gave the “monkeys a hormone to make them more vulnerable to HIV.” This was progesterone, the key ingredient in birth control pills, Depo-Provera, Norplant and other hormonal contraceptives, which we hand out to women in Africa by the tens of millions of doses. And we wonder why they contract AIDS. Also, bear in mind that most of these anti-HIV drugs are also spermicides, so they prevent pregnancy. If this is not the primary purpose for developing them, it is still an important selling point to the anti-natalists.

The Associated Press, “Anti-HIV gel may protect women,” 14 October 2004, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6246226

Too Few People

According to the French National Institute of Demographic Studies, the majority of the world’s people now live in countries where the population will never be replaced. In the past 50 years, average fertility has fallen from 5.4 to 2.l children. During the last 10 years, fertility in developing countries as Brazil, Tunisia, Iran, China (which is 21% of the world’s population) and India (which is 17% of the world’s population) have collapsed. Europe’s birthrates have decreased significantly during this time period, with the Czech Republic today having the lowest birthrate of 1.17 children per woman. Russia’s population drops by 750,000 people per year.

Also creating future population problems, increased infanticide has caused a great imbalance between females and males in Asia, says Indian economist Amartya Sen. Due to female infanticide on the continent, there is now a shortage of over 100 million women, which is already creating the increase of violence and aggression in China and India.

By 2050, the world’s population will hit its high at about 10 billion people and then the numbers will begin to drop. At that time, it is thought that among the few countries that will have families with more than four children will be Afghanistan, Pakistan and some countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The reason for the lack of children? According to journalist Olivier Jay, it is contraception, massive sterilization campaigns and economic prosperity.

“Global Depopulation: A Dangerous Reality,” Genethique Press Release, 18–22 October 2004, www.genethique.org/en/press/press/2004/october/18_22.htm#2

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