The Daughter Deficit - TheDaughterDeficit ByTinaRosenberg...

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The Daughter Deficit  By Tina Rosenberg In   the   late   1970s,   a   Ph.D.   student   named   Monica   Das   Gupta   was   conducting  anthropological fieldwork in Haryana, a state in the north of India.  She observed something  striking about families there: parents had a fervent preference for male offspring.  Women who  had given birth to only a daughter were desperate for sons and would keep having children until  they had one or two.  Midwives were even paid less when a girl was born.  “It’s something you  notice coming from outside,” says Das Gupta, who today studies population and public health in  the World Bank’s development research group.  “It just leaps out at you.” Das  Gupta  saw  that  educated,  independent-minded   women  shared  this   prejudice  in  Haryana, a state that was one of India’s richest and most developed.  In fact, the bias against girls  was far more pronounced there than in the poorer region in the east of India where Das Gupta  was from.  She decided to study the issue in Punjab, then India’s richest state, which had a high  rate of female literacy and a high average age of marriage.  There too the prejudice for sons  flourished.   Along with Haryana, Punjab had the country’s highest percentage of so-called  missing girls – those aborted, killed as newborns or dead in their first few years from neglect. Here was a puzzle: Development seemed to have not only failed to help many Indian  girls but to have made things worse. It is rarely good to be female anywhere in the developing world today, but in India and  China the situation is dire: in those countries, more than 1.5 million fewer girls are born each  year than demographics would predict, and more girls die before they turn 5 than would be  expected.   (In China in 2007, there were 1.73 million births – and a million missing girls.)  Millions more grow up stunted, physically and intellectually, because they are denied the health  care and the education that their brothers receive. _____________________________________________________________________________ _ From  The New York Times , August 23, 2009
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Among policymakers, the conventional wisdom is that such selective brutality toward  girls can be mitigated by two factors.  One is development: surely the wealthier the home, the 
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