Feminism in China: Does Anyone Else Hear Crickets?

While I am based in California and most of my views are from the US, the countries dancing back and forth between second and third place are the UK and China. In my laptop, this makes China at least somewhat progressive country. 
I dig China, in theory. It’s a beautiful country. They have Buddhism, Confucius, herbal medicine, tea, astrology, the Tao to Ching, the I Ching and let’s not forget dim sum! (Hey, I’m a sucker for good for snacking) Maybe the fact that a handful of parents out of the millions of people there are in China are checking out my blog consistently and that I grew up and live near (very progressive) San Francisco (home to the infamous Chinatown) mean that I’m obscuring my world view with my own experience and with it, the realities that are actually very different across the world. 
A few days ago, I read an article that completely blew my mind about a Chinese man who sued his wife and won 120k because their daughter was ugly. I can’t imagine how she must feel, and how their daughter will feel when she learns later what her father thought and did. (and what the judge agreed with!)

This morning, I found out about the documentary, “It’s A Girl“, which highlights an even broader, less publicized problem that takes place in China and a handful of other places.

In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls(1) are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”. 

Girls who survive infancy are often subject to neglect, and many grow up to face extreme violence and even death at the hands of their own husbands or other family members. 

The war against girls is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics which, in combination with government policies, accelerate the elimination of girls. 

Shot on location in India and China, It’s a Girl reveals the issue. It asks why this is happening, and why so little is being done to save girls and women. 

The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.

The news can tell us that the battle for gender equality is far from a thing of the past.There are plenty of other events that don’t make the news that are just as senseless and heartbreaking. In 2006 in Pakistan, twins were born; the boy allowed at the mother’s breast and the tiny girl, relegated to formula made with contaminated water, died the day after the photograph was taken.

This puts the mom wars, debating about parenting practices, length of breastfeeding, type of diet or any other first world problems in perspective. These are all arguments made, for the most part, because we love, value and want what’s best for our children, not just one sex or the other.

UNICEF India is behind the global efforts to end gendercide as well, adding,

“In a culture that idolizes sons and dreads the birth of a daughter, to be born female comes perilously close of being born less than human. Today the rejection of the unwanted girl can begin even before her birth: prenatal sex determination tests followed by quick abortions eliminate thousands of female foetuses before they can become daughters. Those girls who manage to survive till birth and beyond find that the dice is heavily loaded against them in a world that denies them equal access to food, health, care, education, emmployment and simple human dignity.”

This is insane. It’s 2012. We have to do what we can, each of us.
The UNICEF book, “The Lesser Child” is available free, in its entirety below.

You can also take a minute and watch the trailer for the film and sign the petitions here.

Find more information and ways you can help here.

Read more on Feminism in China: 
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