China had been strictly enforcing the ‘Hum do humara ek’ or the ‘One child policy’ since 1979 obstensibly to control the population boom which preceded it. Family planning and sterlisations were the norm, abundant availability of contraceptives along with universal education meant falling fertility rates.
The side – effects of the forced ‘One child norm’ were on the demographic composition. With couples forced to have just one child, cultural factors led to the boy child being preferred over the girl child ultimately leading to a very skewed gender ratio. Well, now there are simply way too many men than there are women. It has led to a somewhat ‘reverse dowry’ situation in China with brides family demanding a price for giving away the bride.
With only one child, two parents and 4 grandparents, the child bore the pressure of running the entire family by herself later on. It also meant rising proportion of senior citizens in the population mix. The so called ‘demographic dividend’, whereby the entrepreneurial spirit of a young working population powering the economic boom, which China so beautifully caputured is no longer there.
Well, now the leaders there belatedly seem to have realised the consequences, by reversing it and allowing ‘Two Child’ to parents whereby one of them is the only child. This would in the very long term correct the skewed gender balance.
Social consequences of such a policy needs a deeper probe..