《经济学人》:生个甜甜和香香又何妨
日期:2011-05-17 15:41

(单词翻译:单击)

India’s sex ratio is getting worse. The trend can be reversed.
印度的性别比例扭曲越加严重,这个趋势能够逆转

THE news from India’s 2011 census is almost all heartening. Literacy is up; life expectancy is up;family size is stabilising. But there is one grim exception. In 2011 India counted only 914 girlsaged six and under for every 1,000 boys.

来自印度2011年的人口调查的消息几乎都让人振奋。识字率上升;预期寿命上升;家庭规模稳定。但是有一个例外,很严峻。2011年,印度6岁及其以下的儿童中每1000个男孩对应只有914个女孩。

Without intervention, just a few more boys would be born than girls. If you compare the numberof girls actually born to the number that would have been born had a normal sex ratio prevailed,then 600,000 Indian girls go missing every year. This is less distorted than the sex ratio in China,but whereas China’s ratio has stabilised, India’s is widening, and has been for decades. Sex selection is now invading parts of the country that used not to practise it.

在自然情况下,出生的男婴只比女婴多一点。如果你按照正常的性别比例比较一下实际出生的和本应该出生的女婴的数字,你会发现每年有60万的印度女孩不翼而飞。这个性别比例的扭曲程度虽然比中国轻一点,但是中国的性别比例已经稳定,而印度的还在扩大,且这种状况已经持续几十年了。性别选择正在侵蚀着印度的部分地区,而这些地区以前不曾这样过。

India’s sex ratio shows that gendercide is a feature not just of dictatorship and poverty. UnlikeChina, India is a democracy: there is no one-child policy to blame. Although parts of the countryare poor, poverty alone does not explain India’s preference for sons. The states with the worst sex ratios—Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat—are among the richest (see article), which suggests distorted sex selection will not be corrected just by wealth or government policy. But it can be corrected.

印度的性别比例表明性别灭绝不只是由于专制和贫穷。与中国不同的是,印度是个民主国家,没有只生一个孩子的计划生育政策。尽管印度的部分地区很穷,但是仅仅贫穷不能解释印度对于男孩的青睐。性别比例最扭曲的邦,比如旁遮普邦、哈里亚纳邦和古吉拉特邦,都是印度最富有的地区。这表明扭曲的性别选择将不会由于财富和政府的政策得以纠正。不过,性别比例是可以得到纠正的。

Parents choose to abort female fetuses not because they do not want or love their daughters, but because they feel they must have sons (usually for social reasons); they also want smaller families—and something has to give. Ultrasound technology ensures that this something is a generation of unborn daughters, because it lets them know the sex of a fetus. Sex selection therefore tends to increase with education and income: wealthier, better educated people are more likely to want fewer children and can more easily afford the scans.

父母选择堕掉女胎不是因为他们不想要或者不喜欢他们的女儿,而是因为他们觉得必须有儿子(通常由于社会的原因);而且他们想要更小的家庭,因此要放弃一些东西。超声波技术能够让父母们知道胎儿的性别,因此确保了他们放弃的是一代未出世的女儿。因为性别选择随着教育和收入的增加而趋于流行,所以更富有、受教育更好的人们更有可能要更少的孩子,也能更轻松的负担检查的费用。

But whereas sex selection may be understandable for a family, it is disastrous for a nation. It is an extreme expression of an attitude that says daughters are worth less than sons—a belief that is damaging both to women and to the next generation, since healthier, better educated mothers have healthier, better-educated children.

然而性别选择虽然对于单个家庭是可以理解的,但是对整个国家却是个灾难。这是重男轻女的态度的极端表达。因为更健康、受教育更好的母亲才能养育更健康、受教育更好的孩子,所以性别选择对于女性和整个下一代都是有害的。

If sex ratios stay the same, 600,000 missing girls this year will become, in 18 years’ time, over 10m missing future brides. Robbery, rape and bride-trafficking tend to increase in any society with large groups of young single men. And because in China and India men higher up the social ladder find wives more easily than those lower down, the social problems of bachelorhood tend to accumulate like silt among the poorest people and (in India) the lowest castes. This is unjust as well as damaging.

如果性别比例还是不变,一年60万消失的女孩将在18年内变成超过1000万消失的未来新娘。在任何一个拥有大量单身男性的社会中,抢劫、强奸和买卖新娘都会趋于增加。由于在中国和印度,上层的男性比底层的男性更容易的找到老婆,因此光棍化的社会问题将会越积越多,就像陷入最贫穷的人或者是(在印度)最低的种姓中一样难以自拔。这既有害也不公平。

Over time, the problem may right itself—as the experience of South Korea, where a sex ratio that was highly distorted in the 1990s and is now approaching normality, suggests. In India, attitudes are changing. According to the latest census, “female literacy, improving general health care, improving female employment rates [are] slowly redefining motherhood from childbearing to child rearing. Census 2011 is perhaps an indication that the country has reached a point of inflection”; and in the worst-affected areas, sex ratios are becoming less distorted. But governments need to hurry the process along.

随着时间流逝,这个问题或许会自我纠正,正如韩国的情况显示的那样。韩国在20世纪90年代性别比例极度的扭曲,现在已经接近正常。在印度,重男轻女的态度正在转变。根据最近的人口调查,“女性识字率的提高、改善的普通医疗和升高的女性就业率正在慢慢的重新定义母亲的角色,这涉及从分娩到抚养孩子成人的整个过程。2011人口调查或许表明印度已经达到了拐点”,在情况最严重的地方,性别比例扭曲程度变轻了。但是政府需要加速这个过程。

Cherish the girls珍惜女孩
India and China, to their credit, are trying to do so. India, for example, bans ultrasound scans from being used merely to identify a fetus’s sex; it also makes sex-selective abortions illegal. But gendercide cannot be reduced just by coercive laws. In middle-income places, ultrasound scans are becoming basic prenatal procedures; it is all but impossible to stop parents from getting to know their child’s sex. If a government cracks down on legal abortions, families will get illegal ones—risking the life of the mother, as well as that of her unborn daughter.

值得赞扬的是,印度和中国都在努力缩小性别差异。例如,印度禁止只是用于分辨胎儿性别的超声波检查,还规定选择性堕胎违法。但是性别灭绝行为不能只靠强制的法律来减少。在中等收入的地方,超声波检查是基本的产前程序,能不让父母们知道孩子的性别。如果政府禁止合法的堕胎,那么人们将采用非法的堕胎,这将冒着母亲还有未出世的女儿的生命危险。

Far more effective would be to persuade parents that their daughters are worth as much as their sons. Changing social attitudes is a difficult thing for governments to do; but ensuring that girls get their fair share of education, and women their fair share of health care, would be a start.

说服父母们相信女儿不比儿子差远比强制性的法律更有效。对于政府而言,改变社会风气绝非易事,但是确保女孩们能够得到公平的教育,确保妇女们得到公平的医疗,将是万里长征的第一步。

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重点单词
  • povertyn. 贫困,贫乏
  • literacyn. 识字,读写能力
  • distortedadj. 歪曲的;受到曲解的 v. 扭曲(distort
  • legaladj. 法律的,合法的,法定的
  • extremeadj. 极度的,极端的 n. 极端,极限
  • exceptionn. 除外,例外,[律]异议,反对
  • unjustadj. 不公平的
  • accumulatevt. 积聚,累加,堆积 vi. 累积
  • normalityn. 常态 =normalcy(美)
  • blamen. 过失,责备 vt. 把 ... 归咎于,责备