The missing 96 million

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International Women's Day was observed this week by the mighty and the lowly around the world. One signifincant group of women were missing from the celebration, according to a new UN Development Program study. The UNDP reports about about 96 million women—the vast majority in China and India—were absent from the 100th commemoration of International Women's Day on March 8 because they had died owing to discriminatory health care and neglect or they had never been born at all because of abortions based on preference for male offspring. In fact, according to the report, female infanticide and sex-selective abortion have caused a severe gender imbalance in Asia. The problem is worsening despite rapid economic growth in the region.

Traditional preferences for boys in fact have not diminished as developing societies accept more of the economic and cultural trappings of modernity and their effects have only been enlarged by modern medical technology that makes it easier to predict and abort unborn girls. So while other factors on health, education and longetivity improve for women globally, this unholy combination is reducing the overall number of women significantly. The UNDP report found that East Asia had the world's highest male-female sex ratio at birth, with 119 boys born for every 100 girls. This imbalance will have tragic future consequences. It's obviously a vast tragedy already for the aborted girls and the stark absence of the creative and vital contribution they could have made in their developing nations.

This reality is an ironic collateral to the celebrations provoked by the transfer of reproductive rights and technology to women in the developing world among Feminists in the West. What could be more of an affront to women then this brute contempt for women, this denial of life?