In 1990, Amartya Sen, a Nobel-prize winning development economist, called attention to Asia’s “missing women.” In Asia, where families historically preferred sons to daughters, there were significantly fewer women than men – about 100 million fewer women, in fact. The gap has been attributed to everything from sex-selective abortion to infanticide to the withholding of food and medical services. In at least one Asian country, however, there’s reason to believe the missing women phenomenon may someday disappear. South Korean parents, who have historically preferred sons, are now more likely to express a preference for daughters. There were 106.4 boys born for every 100 girls in 2008 in South Korea, compared to 116.5 boys born for every 100 girls in 1980. Lee Jeong Rim, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education, attributes the attitudinal shift to better social safety nets for the elderly: “Much of the responsibility to give economic support to the elderly has shifted to the social safety nets, and so the need to have sons have somewhat weakened.” (HT: Motherlode)[%comments]
A Reversal of the “Missing Women” Phenomenon?