Rising sex ratio at birth in China: responses and effects of social policies

Jian Song, Renmin University

China has seen a widely-distributed rising sex ratio at birth since the 1980s, which poses severe threats to social stability and security and indicates son preference common in Chinese society and gender inequality. The Chinese government has taken various measures to try to deal with this problem. However, despite all the efforts, the upward trend of national SRB has not yet been restrained effectively. What are the problems with these policy responses? Why do they have little or limited effects? This paper focuses on current social policies in China, analyzing them in gender perspective and exploring the causes of their ineffectiveness. The methodology is file analysis at national level and field survey at county level. The study finds three problems, shortage of gender awareness, weak-coordination, and ill-feasibility, which may be responsible for the ineffectiveness of social policies to promote gender equality and correspondingly, to restrain the rising sex ratio at birth.

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Presented in Session 212: Implications of imbalanced sex ratios in societies of the past