This unique and groundbreaking book examines the reasons why large numbers of women seem to be 'missing' from the populations of countries across Asia. It asks the controversial question of why millions of girls do not appear to be surviving to adulthood in contemporary Asia. In the first major study available of this emotive and sensitive issue, Elisabeth Croll investigates the extent of discrimination against female children in Asia and shifts the focus of attention firmly from son-preference to daughter-discrimination. This book brings together demographic data and anthropological field studies to paint a vivid picture of the social costs of daughter discrimination across Asia today. It reveals the multiple ways in which girls are disadvantaged, from excessive child mortality to the withholding of health care and education on the basis of gender, and argues that the increasing availability of sex-identification technologies will serve only to supplement older forms of infanticide and neglect.
Focusing especially on China and India, the book reveals the surprising coincidence of increasing daughter discrimination with rising economic development, declining fertility and the generally improved status of women in East and South Asia. This compelling account of a phenomenon still hidden and unacknowledged across the world seeks to re-focus gender debate onto the issue of daughter discrimination. It is essential reading for all those interested in gender in contemporary society.