Being a woman in China

Shantou, a city that I should never have gone to

This is not an easy entry for me to write. My trip to China was the scariest trip that I’ve ever made, and for a simple reason I would have never considered: I look Chinese.

Let me clarify. I look Chinese, but people can tell that I’m not from there. I’m tall, tan, and I dress differently. I travel by myself. As soon as I open my mouth, people hear my accent and know that I’m not proper Mainland Chinese. In the best case scenario, some are interested in where I am from but in the worst case scenario, others want to take advantage of me and because I look Chinese and am female, it could fly under the radar.

I left my family in Zhuzou rather haphazardly to go to Hong Kong. I didn’t have a cell phone, a map, or any friends in Southern China. I didn’t really have a clue. I just wanted to get out of a stifling family environment and I knew that my Mandarin was passable. To be more specific, I had left directly after an argument with my family and I was emotionally distraught and not thinking properly. I knew that I was going to be dependent on the kindness of strangers to direct me to train stations, Hong Kong, etc but I had no qualms about this because I had been in Colombia and Ecuador only two weeks before, probably two of the friendliest countries in the world. It’s in their culture to help people and to welcome them into their lives and my best experiences had been because I went out of my way to talk to and befriend strangers. Well, even though I’m Chinese-American, I had forgotten about this one rather important unspoken rule of the Chinese culture: you don’t help strangers.

It therefore stands to reason that not many would help me, and that those who help me would expect something out of it. I didn’t think much of it when a group of Chinese guys befriended me on a train. There was a girl in the group, and while she didn’t speak to me – mostly because she was sleeping – her presence was reassuring. I enjoyed passing the long ride talking with them as they were a joking and friendly bunch. None of them had gone to Hong Kong but they told me to go to Shenzhen as they thought it would be near. How near, they didn’t know, but it was the only lead that I had, so that became my plan. A guy sat down with the group towards the end – I’m not sure if he knew them all already or if he just sat down randomly – but I somehow associated him with the group and conferred a certain amount of familiarity upon him. He offered to help me buy the ticket to Shenzhen or Hong Kong as he needed to buy a ticket to get to where he was going.

We got off at Guangzhou and the group scattered. They hadn’t been friends before; they had just banded up during the train ride in order to pass the seven hours more enjoyably. It was just me and the guy now, and I was incredibly overwhelmed at the train station in Guangzhou. It was old, immense, and there were three different stations to buy tickets. Nobody was selling direct tickets to Hong Kong – only to Shenzhen – and I was exhausted from the trip and just wanted to rest somewhere, but I was in a really bad part of Guangzhou. I didn’t want to stay there and I didn’t know anybody in or anything about Shenzhen and what it would be like. The guy told me that Shantou, where he was going, was the same distance and price from Hong Kong as Shenzhen and there he was going to stay with friends. He asked me to come with him, and I thought – well, he seemed harmless (short, skinny) and my other options are shit, so okay. I must admit that I also had anthropologist motives – I naturally gravitate towards going off with locals for linguistic and cultural purposes.

Long story short – Shantou is much farther away from Hong Kong than Shenzhen is – Shenzhen basically is the Mainland Chinese part of Hong Kong and you can cross the border walking – and it is one scary city. It’s extremely poor, industrial, and has way too many advertisements of lingerie. Then the Chinese guy and I shared a taxi with some other people going to a part of Shantou far, far, far away from everything. We got off in some neighborhood that had no buses, train, subway, or forms of life. I felt like I was in a waking nightmare. I survived the night (yes the guy had intentions, and yes, I fought him off.. thank you USC Tennis Club) and tried desperately to get out of there the next morning. I walked for hours to find a guy with a computer who then kindly helped me to get a moto-taxi to the train station, which was so empty and un-used that there were no trains leaving at all to Shenzhen, so I had to take a long bus. Once I got to Shenzhen and took a bus to Luo He port and saw foreigners, I finally felt like the nightmare was beginning to end. I arrived safely in Hong Kong and stayed there as long as possible.

Yes, I made a bad decision that in no way reflects my normal logic and my travelling rules (see Traveling Solo as a Woman… also, I’ve been traveling alone since I was 13) because of very particular circumstances. The point of this story is not how something that happens to many Chinese women happened to me – no, my story is clearly exceptional in that Chinese women normally wouldn’t talk to strangers – the point is that this incident showed me how desperate Chinese men are – especially rural, poorer men – and how they treat women. I also learned what it felt like to be invisible in China. It absolutely riles me that I’m in more danger in China because I am female and I look Chinese. Nothing would look out of place if a Chinese man took advantage of me there. Foreigners are in a sense, protected, exactly because they look different and are therefore conspicuous.

I began to think about what it is like to be a poor woman in China… in a country where masochism is part of the culture and even part of Confucianism – which says that women are inferior to men in every sense and should always occupy at least one post below men professionally- what is the reality for poor, native women today? It’s dark. China is notorious for its lack of concern about human rights, and women receive even less, since they are not considered as important as men in the society. Here are some statistics that I’ve found from All Girls Allowed; they have sourced these statistics from the UN Human Development 2009 Report and the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report, 2008,2009, and 2010.

– China’s female enrollment in school is ranked 107th in the world, behind Mauritania and Iran, and just ahead of Malawi.

– The problem of domestic violence remains widespread, affecting nearly one-third of China’s 270 million families, according to a November 2009 People’s Daily report.

– Many unattached men migrate from rural areas to urban destinations, patronizing prostitutes there. In doing so, these men could turn China’s HIV epidemic – now confined to certain high-risk populations – into a more generalized one by creating “bridging” populations from high- to low-risk individuals. Such male bridging populations have fueled HIV epidemics in Cambodia and sub-Saharan Africa.

– Women currently make up approximately 80% of an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 North Korean refugees in China, and of these women, an estimated 90% become victims of trafficking.

– China is the only country in the world where women commit suicide more than men.

– Suicide is the #1 cause of death among Chinese rural women aged 15-34.

500 women commit suicide in China each day: violence against women and girls, discrimination in education and employment, the traditional preference for male children, birth-limitation policies, and other societal factors contribute to the high female suicide rate.

And let’s look at the social trends in China. While women born in comfortable circumstances are educating themselves more, gaining professional jobs even while being discriminated against, and generally living human lives – poor, rural women are born to lives that could be considered inhuman. Consider that 118 boys are born for every 100 girls because of sex-selective abortion, and indirect abortion (from not providing baby girls with adequate medical services, nutrition, etc). Newspapers in China cry, but what about the poor men! There won’t be enough wives for Chinese men in the future! You can still see the complete focus on men’s welfare in Chinese society. I’m more concerned for the women in China in 2050 or so. I feel that so many more women will be forced to go into prostitution because they will face even more professional discrimination or be trafficked because these men will be much more desperate. According to a United Nations official: “The shortage of women will have enormous implications on China’s social, economic, and development future…The skewed ratio of men to women will [also] have an impact on the sex industry and human trafficking,” as well as family, societal, and regional stability.

China is, however, making a nominal effort what with the world-wide onslaught of criticism of its treatment of women. The Deng Yujiao case is one example (see picture and information below). Also, China has recently set up the All-China Women’s Federation to publicize knowledge of womens’ rights – there are supposedly posters all over China publicizing that women have rights and should know what they are (we assume that nobody has never informed these women what their rights were before…). Still, though, I am extremely unsatisfied with what little effort China is making for girls’ and womens’ rights. Deng Yujiao was only released from jail and charged with a “lesser” crime because the entire country spoke out against the government. Even then, the government tried to censor web forums and stifled protests in her name. In China, there is no accountability for domestic abuse. Cultural and social pressure is often exerted so as to undermine rape stories. Women are insecure in rural areas. Professional discrimination is the norm in hiring women and is reflected in their salaries. Finally, women have too little political representation for any change in their interest to come about sooner. Of course, the list goes on. The implications of all of these societal and cultural realities are unbearable to me.

Deng Yujiao was arrested for the murder after two gov officials tried to rape her in a hotel where she was working as an maid. She fought off their advances, stabbed and killed one of them, and was imprisoned consequently. However, national outrage pressured the government to release her, charge her with the lesser "crime" of intentional assault, and fire the corrupt gov officials. It is clear that the government was forced to do all of the above, and that they would have imprisoned her for longer and kept the officials employed if the entire country had not spoken out for Ms. Deng.

What do you think about the situation in China? Have you heard any of these statistics before? What do you think that we can do about the situation in China for girls and women?

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16 thoughts on “Being a woman in China

  1. The problems facing women in China are certainly worrying. I have heard stories of women being raped on sleeper buses, while the other passengers feign sleep to avoid getting involved. Chinese laws concerning spousal abuse are vague at best. Generally police considers it a personal problem, and will refuse to get involved (the same is true of child abuse).
    Thank you for bringing more attention to the dire situation of women in China.

  2. Ever bother to believe that you BEING ASIAN AMERICAN is problem? Every thought that being in those Chiense cities is nor different than say some from OC, CA – Newport Beach being lost in Compton or some crime ridden city in USA?

    Every bother to believe that disparity of wealth in China is cause for such social issues?

    Every bother to question your so called garbage statistics as being pseudo statistics?

    Every bother to question that Asian American women suffer same imager and insecurities living in USA? Western white media ring a bell?

    As for rest of so called Abortions..you do realize they have 1.4 + billion people and dont have resources to fullfill everyone needs. In order for a country to grow economically or even individual needs to clamp down on # of births. If you think ppl need pop babies left and right and expect to ” make it” financially you are social liberal idiot

    this article purely a brain washing – Amy Tan – asian female feminism crap we get feed everyday here in USA

    Asian men are bad…blah blah….etc. Asian men bring down asian women so they run offf with some White guy blabh blah….

    Every rememeber Chinese Exclusion Acts? How about constant racial media stereotype barage of Asian women in media with no Asian men? how about oversexualized imagery of Asian females in WHITE AMERICA? How about racial crimes against asian women done by NON ASIANS in USA?..how about what USA service men did to Korean women, Japanese women, Chinese woman, Phllippino women, or Vietnamese women during Past Wars?

    Get off you high horse Miss Spoiled Asian Ameican female

    • Every bother to consider that there might be elements of Chinese culture that do clearly promote the value of men over women?

      Every bother to check your spelling or grammar?

      Every bother to question the need to be so belligerent towards perfect strangers?

  3. BTW you write perfect Asian American female liberalism crap. You should market this webpage to Whites
    and get a white boyfriend

  4. There’s absolutely no need to bring animosity to the table when discussing something as serious as female oppression in China. The statistics originate from a reliable source and they do support Ani’s claims. Her personal experience as both an Asian American and a female traveler in China, brought up and informed of the typical Chinese attitude is what helped her understand (but not support) how Chinese women live every day.
    Let’s not be mean about it and respect each other’s opinions.

  5. Tom, I’ve never heard that story, but it doesn’t surprise me… my friend in Guangzhou told me that he saw men hitting their wives on the street and nobody would step in for fear of him losing face. In any case, I’m glad that I didn’t take any sleeper trains by myself when I was there. The way that I see it, the two biggest barriers to increased political representation/equality for women in China are cultural. Culturally, Chinese women don’t matter and Chinese people in general avoid interference in personal matters. The government especially is good at feigning ignorance and turning the other cheek. It takes a long time for culture to change, though, and I only hope that increased communication/awareness as spread by the internet will force the government to at least create more safety measures for vulnerable women and girls.

    Ric – interesting comment. You seem to believe that my experience and the experiences of millions of Chinese women are somehow undermined by the fact that I am Asian-American. That doesn’t have any weight as an argument at all to me. Like I explained, I was more vulnerable in China exactly because I at least looked partially Chinese and could pass for a local person. Foreigners are safer in China, period. Therefore, the example of a white person from some neighborhood of Los Angeles being lost in Compton is not appropriate in this situation.

    The disparity of wealth in China is responsible for many problems. However, the problems that millions of Chinese women face are much more serious because they are culturally embedded. Even richer Chinese women face social and professional discrimination and prejudice. Poor, rural Chinese women might as well be insects, they can be treated with such disrespect. They live hell on earth. I’m writing this post for them.

    However wrong many statistics can be – and we should always take statistics with a grain of salt and look at their sources, survey methods, etc – I believe in this statistics. Go to China and you will see things and hear things that illustrate these statistics for you. I didn’t write about other things that I saw and other things that friends told me. The situation in China for women is bad, period.

    You’re mostly not even talking about what I discuss in this post and with Tom. I can see from your Twitter feeds that you have this anger towards Asian-Americans. While I understand what you are talking about when you reference Asian women with older White men etc, that is a completely different cultural issue and one that I can discuss intelligently with you as well, but please see that I am writing about human rights issues for Chinese women in China. If you, as some sort of indignant-about-Asian women and especially Asian-American-women male, cannot recognize the human rights violations that these girls and women suffer in China as well as in many other countries around the world, then you just have problems as a person. Sending messages to Asian-American celebrities criticizing their sexual/romantic choices just indicates that you are immature and uneducated as a person.

  6. I have experienced several times a very frustating situation. It’s not uncommon to see men and women as a group dining in a restaurant in which a drunk guy, that get’s mad at a girl without any reason, hits her in front of everybody not even blushing about the situation.

    From a foreigner’s point of view, this is intolerable but the worst thing is that if you dare to protect (or just stop) that guy you can get your ass beaten soo badly by all chinese people around…yes, unfortunately in China, even if a guy is hitting women, if a foreigner intercedes the rest of chinese will kick you ass in order to save face to that asshole….

  7. Ani, you seem like a nice enough person, but this is rubbish you are writing. Women are not victims in China, quite the opposite. As you say there is an undersupply of women, so obviously they have better marriage prospects (and therefore power) than they otherwise would have.
    You get off a train and follow someone to a place you have never heard of. That is not what we call being taken advantage of, that is you failing to take responsibility for yourself. That has nothing whatsoever to do with whether you are male or female. Not to condone manipulative or dishonest behaviour from the guy you were with, but you really only have yourself to blame. I wonder how that would have turned out if you had gone wondering into the middle of nowhere with a stranger in say the USA?
    I think Chinese women are great. Not all of them, but many that I have met in my time living in China. The thing i like about them is that they take responsibility for themselves, they have a common sense and they refuse to allow circumstances to hold them back. Of the rags to riches stories I have heard or know of with friends of mine, most are women who have worked hard, taken opportunities when they come and been just beautiful, honest people who you couldn’t help but be happy for.
    And I am not sure when you were in Shenzhen, but a poor city it is not. Shenzhen has opened up opportunities to millions of people, it is a centre of technological development and learning. Not enough tree-lined boulevards for you? tut tut. People flock to Shenzhen and the surrounding cities because there is work there and the prospect of a better life. You reveal yourself as having lived a sheltered life, and for someone who claims to want to do volunteer work, extremely selfish.
    While I am on to it, your profile talks about wanting to volunteer work without paying for it. Thats fine, but you know it doesn’t work like that for most people. Most people who want to go and make a contribution in a developing country are as aloof to the realities of the lives they witness as you seem to be. Most people who have not lived outside of their own country have nothing to offer, simple as that. While there is a burgeoning industry taking advantage of people’s willingness to pay to be involved in volunteer projects, there is a fraction of the groups that set up development projects involving volunteers that actually have genuine interests in achieving positive outcomes for people. That means other people, not just for themselves.

    Please take this the right way, but you seem like a person who doesn’t really engage with people from different cultures, and has a limited interest in, or awareness of, the forces acting on their lives.

    I wish you all the best.

    • I wonder how such “rubbish” is supported by academic research and government reports all around the world? It’s so easy for a man to disregard all evidence affecting the “invisible” girls and women – you do not live nor see their reality, and you take silent offense to the fact that it is men who are violating their rights and suppressing them. I have written it in this entry and I will say it again: I am not talking about the women in China who are rising stars. I believe in the power of women all over the world to lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty, and Chinese women are exemplary in the way that they work hard and fight for themselves. Ever since China allowed women to work publicly only 50 years ago, many Chinese women have been lifting themselves out of poverty through sheer hard work and now 6 of the worlds 10 richest women are Chinese. However, I am talking about the women in China who aren’t educated enough to have high-paying jobs, who work menial jobs, and have a miserable existence in rural China or industrial, urban cities. They don’t have the money to secure themselves from the host of problems that plague women in countries where the culture mandates that they be “taught their place”. They face an entire culture that would rather look the other way than stick up for them, because it is the men who matter and have only ever mattered in China. Think about what is going to happen as the number of women in ratio the number of men in China decreases. You think that they will have more “marrying power”? We are not talking about the States, where a 70:30 male to female ratio means that the women in that city have tons of dating opportunities and love their lives. The culture in the States VALUES independence in women and we have made all sorts of strides in terms of creating a culture that RESPECTS women. Face the reality, in China, they will be more VULNERABLE. It will be even harder for females to get jobs, as the status quo of a male in a position is so much easier and will be easier with more males around. The sex industry and trafficking of women will boom, because men drive these two fields. Men will demand prostitutes more and more, and men will traffic more women – men will be MORE DESPERATE for sex and treat women even MORE like sexual objects and babymakers than before. If you cannot make these connections, if you cannot read an article or a book about the human rights violations of girls and women in China, and then respond intelligently to me using some sort of actual, fact-based, analytical argument, then we cannot have a discussion and I wish you all the best as well.

      On another level, I take much offense to your comment because instead of trying to create a well-founded argument about how the situation for women in China is different from what I say, you personally attack me so as to insinuate that my argument is “rubbish”. My story and my situation are mine. That does not make the reality of what affects women in China any less real or believable. For that matter, you do not know me. I am not rich nor sheltered; my family is poor and from China and I grew up taking care of myself in Queens, NY because my mother worked two jobs and was hardly around. If you had actually taken the time to read this entry, as well as my blog, you would have read that I was talking about Guangzhou and not Shenzhen (I know very well that Shenzhen is rapidly growing and rich, thank you very much) – I had gotten off at a bad neighborhood in Guangzhou – and furthermore, I advocate volunteering without paying because I know tons of people like me who CANNOT AFFORD to pay to volunteer. These middle-man agencies can charge 6000USD to volunteer in Perú for a month. Well, if I do it on my own, like I did, I can do it on a student’s budget. I don’t work full-time and I pay for all my own expenses, so while I understand that there are SOME responsible organizations that do not foot the majority of the bill into their own administration and actually give the majority of the money to the NGO or charity (and one that is sustainably run and necessary), I cannot pay these fees. Moreover, volunteering freely allows me to explore many different fields that I am interested in. I believe that this is the most important part of volunteering while you are young: you can find out exactly what it is that inspires you to say: this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’ve volunteered for education nonprofits, development nonprofits, meal kitchens, and cultural festivals. Could I have done all that by paying? Absolutely not. It’s enough of an effort already for me to work for money to cover all of the transportation and living costs of traveling for long-term periods. Furthermore, I take enormous offense to you saying that I don’t engage with people from other cultures. Have you read this blog at all? I study anthropology and when I travel, I live with people of other cultures and different socioeconomic classes. In Perú, I lived with a Peruvian family. In Ecuador, I lived with an Ecuadorian family. In Colombia, I lived with a Colombian family and some of my Colombian friends. Etc for France. I speak four languages fluently and am extremely open to other cultures and people different from myself. Everything that I do is an effort to better understand the lives of other people.

  8. Essentially everything you say about China is true.
    And yet, and yet, and yet.
    The world is not black and white
    It’s complicated, very complicated

    China is not really one country
    It is really a mash-up
    Of around 50 to 60 ‘countries’
    Each with its own ethnic identity
    Each with its own culture

    China is imperialist
    It refuses to allow autonomy
    To the minority communities
    Be that as it may
    We must deal with what is given

    Fighting the status quo
    Is an uphill battle
    I’ve heard it said that
    You cannot cross a chasm in two steps
    But Revolution only leads to chaos
    And as the classic “Who” song says
    “Meet the new boss,
    Same as the old boss”

    Still the first step is to look truthfully
    You, and others like you are doing this
    As the saying goes
    A journey of a 1000 miles
    Begins with a single step

    That you are attacked
    And criticized is difficult for you
    But it is also a sign
    That you are saying the right things
    Those who are invested
    In the Status quo
    Of oppression and repression
    Will naturally attack those
    Who would expose them

    Still be careful as well
    The Chinese are like
    All other repressive places.
    They are changing yes,
    But there is much resistance

    My thanks to you

    yamabuki

    PS. have you read Xinran’s book
    “The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices”
    http://amzn.to/kK613V

  9. Thank you, for such a beautiful comment! There is so much truth in it.

    I will look out for the book, thank you, it sounds interesting.

  10. Pingback: Weekend Links « The Travel Pen

  11. Ani, I think this is such a thoughtful article. Actually, the content of this article has been on my mind a lot.

    The statistics you share are concerning. I don’t understand the comments above that so harshly criticize your position on this issue. While it is true that there are most certainly instances of men being marginalized in China, the statistics are pointing at trends. This is not to say that men are not important or that men do not face hardships. They most certainly are and do. Your article is simply focusing on the plight of women, particularly in the countryside.

    My question to you is – what can we do? The issue of trafficking is certainly a horrifying situation. How can we help? Do you have any suggestions for us about how to contribute to a solution? Thanks.

  12. Ani, I find it highly interesting to read the responses to this article. As a white woman who has lived in both rural and urban parts of China for over 4 years, I found your post to be incredibly honest and accurate. I would have thought that anyone who has spent any amount of time in China would quickly see the discrepancy between men and women; as you said, no one really tries to hide the preferential treatment of men and the subsequent degrading treatment of women. I find it interesting that the two people who so blatantly and rudely disregarded your experience are men. I find it even more interesting that “Henry” has spent time in China and STILL wrote such an ignorant response. It is sad that, regardless of their nationality, men are oblivious to the sexism that exists. (I hope that is not true of all men, but it is obviously true of the two who commented here.)
    I appreciate the honesty of this article, and the light it has shed on the reality of life in everyday-China. Thank you for speaking up for the women who aren’t given a voice.

  13. I read your excellent post and all the comments, but I think I don’t have enouhg information to comment my self about this matter. Your post is very eye opening to me, because I look like a foreigner my experience here in China is different. I have always thought tha traveling in China is safe, but you got me thinking, that it’s different for me and for Chinese people.Your post is also a good reminder for people to be careful when traveling alone and not to trust strangers.

    I can recommend any book from Xinran. I’ve learned a lot about China and Chinese people by reading her books.

    Then to the last question, is there anything we can do? As an outsider, as a foreigner, it feels like it’s hopeless. I don’t see any way I could help. I can help poor people by buying their products what they are selling on the street. But that’s not enough and not always possible for a student like me. Is there anythings else that a person like me living in China could do?

    Seems like the key is to educate girls more, but in order this to happen those families would also need more money so they could send the girls to school. And before that they would need to understand how important it is to educate girls.

    Thank you again for bringing this topic up and starting the discussion.

  14. Ani, I wish I had gotten into this discussion sooner. I have lived in China for over 25 years, and most definitely concur with everything you have said. As a foreigner, I have lived in cities for all these years, but I have had access to the rural areas.

    To Ric, your comments are so out there and ignorant–and have so little to do with the content of Ani’s article–that they are scarcely deserving of comment. To Henry, you sound very much like the type of person that has lived in China for a year or two, taught a little bit and traveled a little bit, and is now a self-proclaimed “expert.” I’ve seen plenty of people like you over the years. Professing a respect for Chinese culture, you don’t see the seedier aspects of it (and yes, every culture, including America’s, has its seedier aspects). One can definitely spend time in China, in the larger cities, and get the impression that women have a great deal, but that is a veneer that needs to be peeled back to see the truth of the matter. Even in cities, I have seen the ubiquitousness of domestic abuse and the lack of value attached to women. LIke Ric, you don’t deal with the gist of Ani’s article, which is the vulnerability of rural women. And to say that Ani was responsible for her situation, for being vulnerable, while passing over the cultural norms that encourage men to take advantage of vulnerable women, is callous and smacks of a blame the victim defense. To Tom, bless you for an enlightened man!

    I can say that I have been the recipient of an astonishing degree of kindness from total strangers in my years here, yet the fact that I am a foreigner must be factored in, and I must also say that is changing. I know of foreign women that have been raped in China, and that have fought off rapists. I have also been privy to the stories of young girls that have been abused–both Chinese and foreign–and abuse is an epidemic here.

    History shows that when infanticide and abortion are practiced against females, for whatever reason, that culture then grows to “prize” women as a commodity, and the result is always to degrade a woman’s value and her rights as a human being. Witness the Greeks and Romans, where a woman was regarded as property, and where men (especially the Romans) were well-known for not liking women or understanding their wives, preferring to get their sexual needs met through temple prostitutes. It was rare for a Greek or Roman family to have more than one daughter, and the leading cause of death for women was forced abortions (forced upon them by their husbands). Or consider present-day India with it’s 40 million “lost girls”–girls who have been lost through abortion and infanticide. The result is a loss of status and rights for women.

    Ani, jia you for speaking out, and for your gracious replies in the face of prejudice, ignorance, and smug self-righteousness!

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