One-Child Policy

As a product of China’s One Child Policy, it is safe to say that I have had my fair share of inequality. I, like many other females, had been abandoned for a reason that was and still is undoubtedly idiotic. Parents wanted males. This way of acting and thinking can be considered a norm because of the influences that were passed down from generation to generation. Can you believe that there’s still so little value in being female?  I can’t, but I understand better when I know some of the history of the nation’s beliefs. Historically, it was decided that patrilineal descent would be more important than a female’s descent. As time went on, this idea became widespread in China. Their culture has lived and thrived through traditional values until the One Child Policy was introduced. The father of the male within a couple’s relationship would be very influential to their procreation because it is considered unacceptable to dishonor a family and their history.

In 1980, the Chinese government enacted the one-child policy to stunt the rapidly growing population. As time progressed, the culture began adapting to this new rule.  There was a limit to the chances of getting that coveted son now.  What would they do? In fact, anything they could. Parents sometimes went to seemingly horrible means to get that son. As medical technology evolved, women would ask for a doctor to determine the sex of their unborn. If the results were favored by the couple they would keep the baby, otherwise they would abort it if they were not pleased. If the wife/ girlfriend did not agree to abortion, they would go through with the pregnancy but then give up the child to a foster family or an orphanage. Within orphanages the life of an infant would have been no better if not worse than death. From 1980 up to present day, families have given away their children to the one-child policy. Yes, this has effectively stunted the growth of  China’s population but because of their love for males it has created a grave imbalance ratio of men to women. If a families were to just keep female children,  it would help catch up the lead that males have over females.

Orphanages were the next best alternative at the time for women who didn’t want their female kin to die. For the lucky few like me, they were adopted out of the poor conditions provided by orphanage staff. A newborn who was not as lucky would have been bound in place by their legs and arms in potty stools all day long with no interaction from staff members (“Dying”). While I stated that they sat in potty stools, I did not state that they were changed regularly.  For babies that were less than a year old they laid in cribs wrapped up in one diaper with layers of plastic and blankets for days on end (“Dying”). This lack of sanitation is unhealthy and cruel for babies who have done nothing evil in the world. The simplest way to fix this would be to provide a little more carefor these children by the orphanage staff.

To be a female in China right now is fantastic, but back in the 90’s it felt shameful. Economic level played a role also in childbearing.  Families who were looking to have more than one child would have had to be rich due to the fines that were handed out for each illegal child born. Currently the Chinese government has been loosening up its reins on the policy and has stopped enforcing it so heavily. They are posting signs and posters all over the country promoting female babies.

— Leah


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