episode 15

It’s a girl !

India, 2010

published the 24th January, 2017


A generation of bachelors

The shortage of women is beginning to show in India, and it’s only going to get worse. Some regions are already home to groups of unmarried men who spend their days drinking and raising hell. Arranging marriages is getting trickier, particularly finding a bride, but this may eventually lead to the end of the dowry system, which has in theory been outlawed since 1961 but which is still widely practised.

one child in China

China introduced its one-child policy in 1979. Many couples find a way to ensure their sole offspring is a boy. In 2005, demographers recorded a gender imbalance of 116 boys for every 100 girls, leading to an increase in human trafficking and prostitution.


In Afghanistan, tradition dictates that families who only have daughters dress one of them as a boy until she reaches puberty. The custom is tolerated by Afghan society which treats the “boys” as men, letting them spend time with adult males, chaperone their sisters, and doing everything else boys are allowed to. In general, they return to their original gender when their periods start but it is sometimes hard for the girls to lose the freedom they enjoyed as “boys”.

Are men really superior ?

Human societies across history have always considered women as weak creatures, unable to control their urges. Even polyandrous societies which allowed women several husbands did so to guarantee the male line, as women would often marry a full set of brothers. When doctors first began studying semen, they thought each sperm contained a tiny homunculus, reducing women to mere incubators for a male egg.



  1. Wikipedia (foeticide in India)


  1. Bénédicte Mannier, Quand les femmes auront disparu : l’élimination des femmes en Inde et en Asie, Ed. La Découverte, 200 p., 2008
  2. Jenny Nordberg, Ces petites afghanes que l’on déguise en garçons, GéO N°384, Février 2011