Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men
This is a shocking expose of the causes of Asia's massive gender imbalance and its consequences across the globe. In 2007, the booming port city of Lianyungang achieved the dubious distinction of having the most extreme gender ratio for children under five in China: 163 boys for every 100 girls. The numbers may not matter much to the preschool set. But in twenty years the skewed sex ratio will pose a colossal challenge. When Lianyungang's children reach adulthood, their generation will have twenty-four million more men than women. The prognosis for China's neighbours is no less bleak: rampant sex selective abortion has left over 160 million females "missing" from Asia's population. And gender imbalance reaches far beyond South and East Asia, affecting the Caucasus countries, Eastern Europe, and even some groups in the US - a rate of diffusion so rapid that the leading expert on the topic compares it to an epidemic. The world therefore is becoming increasingly male, and this mismatch is likely to create profound social upheaval. Historically, eras in which there has been an excess of men have produced periods of violent conflict and instability. Mara Hvistendahhl has written a stunning, impeccably researched book that does not flinch from examining not only the consequences of the misbegotten policies of sex selection but Western complicity with them.
Recently announced as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction
"An important, bracing work of investigative reporting... As news of these (gender) imbalances has spread, many ave blamed ancient preferences... Hvistendahl's research puts the lie to these lazy claims." (Financial Times) "Unnatural Selection reads like a great historical detective story, and it's written with the sense of moral urgency that usually accompanies the revelation of some kind of enormous crime." (New York Times)"
Mara Hvistendahl has reported from the Tibetan plateau, the Amazon rainforest, and rural Texas for publications including the FT Magazine, LA Times and Scientific American. Proficient in Mandarin, she has lived in Shanghai where she taught journalism at Fudan University. She lives in the Netherlands.