Monday, March 21, 2011


"No civilization can be perfect until exact quality between man and woman is included." — Mark Twain, Notebook, 1985

NOT LONG before I started writing this blog, I heard an interview with a reporter that was so upsetting that I couldn't listen to it. Now I wish I knew where I heard it so that I could attach a link to it, but I did such a good job of blotting it out that I'm not sure if I heard it on Fresh AirNBC or somewhere else.

Here's the gist of it: In many places of the world, there are roughly 10 times as many orphaned baby girls as boys. In India there's about 1 boy for every 99 girls. In China girls account for about 95% of the orphans. Girls are thought to be of so little value that they're abandoned; the lucky are rescued by an orphanage. Imagine that as the fate of your precious daughter, niece or granddaughter.

In parts of Africa there about 10 times as more boys than girls get treated in hospitals because boys are prized enough that one of the parents will carry him to the hospital if he's ill, whereas they won't take the trouble for a girl. Imagine your adorable little girl dying without medical care for the crime of being female.

Those of us who through luck of the draw have been born into cultures where we are valued and heard have an obligation to work for change on behalf of those who aren't because we have voices and means to do so. How are you making a difference? 

Addendum added 6/24/15:

I've never found the interview that originally inspired this post, but today I came across a November 19, 2013 UC Berkeley News Center article written by Kathleen Maclay entitled "Report details high costs of Philippine typhoons for families, baby girls"  that precisely illustrates my point. Here's as excerpt:

"Economists found that while officials report roughly 740 deaths on average every year due to typhoon exposure in the Philippines, post-typhoon mortality among baby girls is approximately 15 times higher than that.

Researchers say that the high death rate for girls likely relates to families’ economic constraints and coping strategies long after a typhoon is past. 

The risk of a baby girl dying after a typhoon doubles if she has older sisters in the home, and the risk doubles again if the she has older brothers – suggesting that the competition for resources among siblings may play a key role in these deaths. The researchers did not find a spike in the mortality rates for baby boys, but they uncovered an elevated mortality risk among baby girls that lasts up to two years after a typhoon."

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