China ends One-Child Policy, increases to two

Fabienne Fleurantin / Contributing Writer

After decades of restricting the increase of their birth rates, China has ended its One-Child Policy, stating that all couples are allowed to have two children instead of one.

This change came after “fears that an aging population could jeopardize China’s economic ascent,” wrote Chris Buckley of the New York Times.

Overwhelmed by the growing population, the One-Child Policy was implemented in the late 1970’s, limiting couples to only having one child. Disobeying this law led to harsh consequences, especially for women.

According to Radio Free Asia, males are valued more in society than females due to their physical and financial obligations to the family.

“Medical advancements and technology played a key role in creating this surplus of boys,” said Susan Scutti of Newsweek, making way for early determination of the sex of the fetus.

Women felt the pressure to produce a son and if unsuccessful, they would resort to sex selective abortions and infanticide, killing newborn infants. Girls were twice as likely to die in their first year of life as boys.

This has led to 13 million abortions per year, and during its period, the One-Child policy has averted over 400 million births.

Due to a skewed gender ratio, men had difficulties looking for wives, perpetuating human trafficking.

Women from other parts of Asia, like Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, were kidnapped as foreign brides, and forced into marriages with Chinese bachelors. Others would come as migrant workers, with false promises of finding employment, falling victim to sexual exploitation.

While exploring cultures within China, author Charles K. Bergman discovered something disturbing.

He found that “for many young women who may only have had a very basic elementary education and who are from China’s poorer areas, the quickest way to boost their incomes is through prostitution.”

In addition, women who are highly intelligent are no longer seen as human beings, but as a “third gender.”

As a woman, I couldn’t feel more empowered by this movement of transformation. The rigid structure of China’s society has brought damage far beyond comprehension.

It is appalling to know that your assigned sex at birth determines the significance of your existence.

There are many disparities in gender equality here in the United States and seeing an opportunity of this being altered elsewhere is monumental.

This could be the first step in recognizing women as individuals, attributing their capabilities to fostering modifications in China.

Not only this, but viewing women as a worthy asset that could revolutionize this new culture. It may not eradicate all of what was present before, but it starts the conversation of what’s possible.

Females could be perceived at an equal standing as males, not as an item to be bought and sold for someone else’s disposal, or ostracized at someone’s will. They will be an undefined, powerful weapon in the country’s arsenal.

This could completely redefine the status of women and reorganize the hierarchy of gender in China.

[Image from Flickr]

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