Asian Woman Essay Research Paper Female infanticide

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Asian Woman Essay, Research Paper Female infanticide was a major social problem faced by Chinese and Indian women during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but how did British colonialism help to bring about important changes for women in these two great nations? The arrival of British colonialism in China and India provided a major catalyst of change for women and their roles in society which helped to change the viewpoint of many parents during the time. Before the time of colonialism in the nineteenth century social issues for women were dealt with very poorly, and in some cases lethally. Being born a female in China or India was a very hazardous affair due to the common practice of female infanticide where both cultures regarded having a son much more beneficial to

the family than having a daughter. Being born a girl in China was a very unhealthy thing since female infanticide was very common, especially among the lower classes. Not only was a female child an expense to raise, but later she needed a dowry to marry, and her most productive years were devoted to her husband’s family and not her own. Therefore, some parent’s attitude to children is such that when they bear a son they congratulate each other, but when they bear a daughter they kill her. Both children come from the parent’s love, but they congratulate each other when it is a boy and kill it if it is a girl because they are considering their later convenience and calculating their long-term interests. It is impossible to draw a full and accurate picture of what happened to

baby girls in China at any given time; all that is certain is that this form of discrimination against women, carried out at childbirth or in very early childhood, persisted in varying degrees over hundreds of years, using techniques that were equally unchanging, whether by drowning in “baby-ponds,” immersion in cold or boiling water, suffocation, strangulation, burying alive, or more commonly, abandonment or exposure. The preference for sons and the disfavor for daughters was also a phenomenon that impacted India as well, and is best exemplified in North India. Sons, especially in rural North Indian context were economic, political and ritual assets; daughters in most respects were considered liabilities. Sons were needed for farming the land, or, if they emigrated, were

valuable sources of remitted income. Sons played important roles in power struggles over land boundaries and rights to irrigation water. Sons often stayed with the family after marriage and thus provided security for the parents in their old age; North Indian daughters married out of their natal villages and could provide no support for their families of birth. Sons brought in dowries, which often contained large amounts of cash and could be used by the parents of the groom; daughters drained family wealth by requiring dowries upon marriage and constant flow of gifts to their family of marriage for years thereafter. Therefore, due to the widely embraced viewpoint that girls were seen as a financial liability for most Indian households it is very evident in the eighteenth and

nineteenth centuries that female infanticide was practiced by a large proportion of the North Indian population. According to some estimates one-fourth of the population in the northwestern plains region allowed no daughter to survive while the remaining three-fourths of the population did nothing to alter the sex ration of their offspring. British colonialism both directly and indirectly had an affect on this deadly social problem. As for China there were many factors that helped to shift the practice of female infanticide from commonplace to unlawful and unpractical. Through the avenues of government, religion, and the workplace the lives of Chinese women became much safer. One of the first mentions of government involvement in this issue was on February 19, 1838, when the