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The Gendered Biopolitics of Sex Selection in India

The Gendered Biopolitics of Sex Selection in India After China, India has the most skewed sex ratio at birth. These two Asian countries account for about 90 to 95% of the estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million missing female births annually, worldwide, due to gender-biased (prenatal) sex selection. To understand this extreme discrimination against girls, this article examines the gendered biopolitics embedded in population policies, new sex selection technologies, and in the social reproduction of patriarchal society. The ethical consequences of advanced reproductive technologies, which remove the moral turpitude around gender-based sex selection by reformulating it into a “modern”, “scientific” endeavour, facilitating the rise of “missing girls”, make this an issue of gender justice, as noted by the World Population Report 2020. This article argues that unpacking gendered biopolitics within the household is crucial to understanding the reproduction of son preference and daughter aversion since it is here that reproduction and parenthood are subjected to biopolitical governance. We discuss how “biosocial” strategies of the household aimed at producing the “desired” and “right” family of more sons at the cost of daughters are operationalized through women’s bodies with a view to family mobility. While women and girls continue to bear the burden and costs of social reproduction that lie at the heart of the patriarchal capitalist system of accumulation, a perusal of more recent studies suggests the beginning of an equalizing trend of parental investments, especially in the health and education of daughters who are “allowed” to be born. We suggest that familial enhancement of girls’ human capital can help as a means of developing girls’ capabilities and agency, enhancing their power in the biopolitics of the family and increasing their “bio-value” in parents’ eyes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Bioethics Review Springer Journals

The Gendered Biopolitics of Sex Selection in India

Asian Bioethics Review , Volume 13 (1) – Jan 4, 2021

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © National University of Singapore and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021
ISSN
1793-8759
eISSN
1793-9453
DOI
10.1007/s41649-020-00159-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

After China, India has the most skewed sex ratio at birth. These two Asian countries account for about 90 to 95% of the estimated 1.2 to 1.5 million missing female births annually, worldwide, due to gender-biased (prenatal) sex selection. To understand this extreme discrimination against girls, this article examines the gendered biopolitics embedded in population policies, new sex selection technologies, and in the social reproduction of patriarchal society. The ethical consequences of advanced reproductive technologies, which remove the moral turpitude around gender-based sex selection by reformulating it into a “modern”, “scientific” endeavour, facilitating the rise of “missing girls”, make this an issue of gender justice, as noted by the World Population Report 2020. This article argues that unpacking gendered biopolitics within the household is crucial to understanding the reproduction of son preference and daughter aversion since it is here that reproduction and parenthood are subjected to biopolitical governance. We discuss how “biosocial” strategies of the household aimed at producing the “desired” and “right” family of more sons at the cost of daughters are operationalized through women’s bodies with a view to family mobility. While women and girls continue to bear the burden and costs of social reproduction that lie at the heart of the patriarchal capitalist system of accumulation, a perusal of more recent studies suggests the beginning of an equalizing trend of parental investments, especially in the health and education of daughters who are “allowed” to be born. We suggest that familial enhancement of girls’ human capital can help as a means of developing girls’ capabilities and agency, enhancing their power in the biopolitics of the family and increasing their “bio-value” in parents’ eyes.

Journal

Asian Bioethics ReviewSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 4, 2021

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