Why are Chinese women allowed to have only boys?Why are Chinese women allowed to have only boys? Why not girls?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

China is the most populous country in the world. For many years, the Chinese government has enforced population control through a one-child policy: couples are allowed to have only one child. Through abortion or abandonment or even sterilization, subsequent children are prohibited. Abandoned children either die from exposure or are placed in orphanages for foreign adoption.

Why are baby girls abandoned more often than baby boys? Perhaps it is because a son is thought to be more able to take care of the parents when he is an adult. Or maybe he will take over the family business when he grows up. Or maybe, as in India, the parents can't afford to pay for a daughter's wedding.

In a review of the book The Lost Daughters of China by Karin Evans, Michelle Prebilic addresses this issue:

Evans voices the one question that reverberates throughout her masterpiece: ‘‘Why . . . were almost all the lost children in China girls?’’ Evans ... gives us insights that show readers how this might happen ... a family could disown a woman for having a baby girl. The woman could lose her job and her home, and face a life of poverty.... [Evans] gives honor to the courage and sorrow that the other human being must have felt in discarding her female infant. Evans interprets the action of abandonment to be an ultimate act of maternal love.

See the links below for more information.

udonbutterfly | Student

In China there is a law called "One-child Policy" that was instated around 1980. It prevents many parents from having more than one child unless they want to face paying extra taxes and fines for having that second child, which many don't.

A girl in China's society is rarely able to get anywhere. When only one child is born they are expected to take care of grandparents and possibly even their parents at a certain age and they think that women are the least capable and won't be able to carry on the family name. So they go through procedures in order to abort baby's that are especially girls. Because of this there is now a wide gap between the number of girls and boys there are in China. Some women even commit suicide because they can't bare to have a baby girl nor can pay for an abortion.

Read the study guide:
The Joy Luck Club

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