Gender Nonsense: A view on India’s sex ratio disparity

The figures from the last census in India point to an imbalanced sex ratio that in this country there were 109 males for every 100 females under the age of six, up from 107 in 2001… and increasing.

The imbalanced sex ratio in India calls my attention because having a male son is very important for the role they play as a traditional supporter of the family, while the female has a more family-house oriented role. At the same time, India is statistically considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world due to the evidence of femicides.

According to a 2011 study by the Center for Global Health Research in Canada, between 4.2 million and 12.1 million girls were aborted during the last three decades in this country. Some studies point that there is a common myth that daughters don’t benefit their families, I guess as a tradeoff of a productive economic activity perspective.

I would like to think it’s the lower uneducated classes who invest their life savings in educating the son, while the daughter is left at home for housekeeping activities. Upper-class families with money and access to ultrasound could potentially use this technology for sex determination purposes, something illegal in India if used for that particular matter. So then the reasons for deciding to have a boy over a girl is not exactly monetary, but traditional.

What I can conclude so far, and this is a very personal point of view, is that females are considered more a liability than an asset to a typical Indian family. But again, I hope this happens in the traditional lower levels of societies and that things in modern times are changing.

The reasons for this sociocultural phenomenon can have its roots in other fundamentals, such as poverty. But for the time being, I’m just trying to bring a picture of the story to the people that have never been to India. In fact, the ultimate reason why this calls my attention is not really for those people, but for simple market reasons. Let me explain…

In India the tradition for marriage, apart from that it is most likely arranged between the parents, is that the family of the bride has to  contribute with a dowry. This is can be in the form of money, goods, or properties that a woman brings forth to the marriage. So then the question is how in the world this whole dowry thing is, at least statistically, a nonsense exception to the basic supply and demand rule, where:

The “shortage” of females represents a movement (decrease) along the Quantity Axis to the left (arrow 1), which inversely affects the Y-Axis, as explained in arrow 2, pushing the price upwards.

So, why again do the family of the girl would have to pay when it’s actually the daughter who is the scarce “resource” in society? This brings us to the next stage of the evolution of the theory of trade which is precisely…?

You guessed, Import-Export, the way markets make up for their deficits or surpluses… but that is perhaps a topic for some other time… 😉

india sex ratio imbalance chart

Don’t miss my article India in a Quick Retrospective.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Previous Post Next Post
Mexican blogger living abroad and writing about experiences of traveling around México, Italy, India and Spain.


Add Your Comment
  1. IX12 – results are in!

    Dear Ernst,

    Congratulations from the and Lexiophiles team! Out of the 239 participating blogs you made the top 100 list. This year we had more than 10.000 votes. You can find the entire ranking here:

    There you will also find a map showing where the top 100 bloggers are located around the world. You can place this map on your website by using the embed code underneath the map.

    In addition, we have created a button for you to put onto your blog telling everyone that you made the top 100 list. Simply embed the following code into your blog so everyone knows how well you did:

    We really enjoyed this competition and hope you had as much fun as well! If you have any additional questions do not hesitate to contact me.


    Virgínia Rodrigues
    On behalf of the and Lexiophiles team

Leave a Reply

Translate »