As more men discover their lack of marriage prospects, this could lead to antisocial behaviour, violence and possibly more opportunities for organised crime and terrorism, threatening the stability and security of many societies.
In the paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Dr Therese Hesketh of the UCL Institute of Child Health and Dr Zhu Wei Xing from the Zhejiang Normal University in China warn that measures to reduce sex selection and change cultural attitudes are urgently needed.
Dr Therese Hesketh, of the UCL Institute of Child Health, says: "The ratio of men to women in most populations is remarkably constant if left untouched. The tradition of son preference, however, has distorted these natural sex ratios in large parts of Asia and North Africa. Sex-selective abortion and discrimination in care practices for girls have led to higher female mortality. Although health care for women is generally improving, these advances have been offset by a huge increase in the use of sex-selective abortion, and there are now an estimated 80 million missing females in India and China alone.
"Over the next 20 years, in parts of China and India there will be a 12 to 15 per cent excess of young men. These men will remain single and will be unable to have families, in societies where marriage is regarded as virtually universal and social status and acceptance depend, in large part, on being married and creating a new family. Many of these men will be rural peasants of low socioeconomic class with limited education.
"When there is a shortage of women in the marriage market, the women can 'marry up', inevitably leaving the least desirable men with no marriage prospects. For example, in China 94 per cent of all unmarried people age 28–49 are male and 97 per cent of them have not completed high school. In these communities, the growing number of young men with a lack of family prospects will have little outlet for sexual energy.
"This trend could lead to increased levels of antisocial behaviour and violence, as gender is a well-established correlate of crime, and especially violent crime. Gender-related violent crime is consistent across cultures. Furthermore, when single young men congregate, the potential for more organised aggression is likely to increase substantially, and this has worrying implications for organised crime and terrorism.
"But as the number of women in a society drops, so their social status should rise and they should benefit from their increased value. This will lead to more balanced sex ratios as more couples choose to have girls. However, measures to reduce sex selection are still desperately needed and should include strict enforcement of existing legislation, equal rights for women, and public awareness campaigns about the dangers of gender imbalance.
"The good news is that the situation can improve if such measures are taken. In South Korea the sex ratio has already declined, and gender preference data from China is also encouraging. In a recent national survey, 37 per cent of Chinese women surveyed claimed to have no gender preference, and 45 per cent said the ideal family consisted of one boy and one girl. Almost equal numbers of the women expressed a preference for one girl as for one boy. Fundamental changes in attitudes are starting to happen, which will hopefully see the bias in sex ratio gradually decline over the next two to three decades. However, the damage for a large number of today's young men and boys has already been done."
Jenny Gimpel | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology