Last week, we solicited your questions for Mara Hvistendahl, recent podcast contributor and the author of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. Below, Mara responds to some of your questions, addressing everything from dowries to polyandry. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Q While there certainly are downsides, with unattached men getting into trouble and being rowdy, won’t a shortage of females help increase the value and position of women in cultures that have been historically resistant to providing them an equal place in society? In theory, they should be able to demand higher standards during courtship and, once married, the threat of divorce would ensure better behavior on the part of men. Of course, a shortage of workers is one of the economic prerequisites to slavery so I guess it can go both ways. –Mike B