This House believes that countries with an imbalanced male/female ratio skewed towards males should encourage parents to produce girls.

This debate discusses nations with a large imbalance in the number of men and women within the population. The motion refers particularly to countries where there are far more men than women and social problems are arising as a result. Some problems that arise from this imbalance are enormous numbers of unmarried men, an increase in trafficking of women, crime and prostitution, the reinforcement of male superiority and damage to traditionally female industries. The motion begs the question whether governments in these countries ought to instigate a policy to provide incentives for parents to produce girls.

There are numerous reasons why the gender ratio becomes unbalanced. Warfare is one reason. There was an excess of females in Western Europe after WW1.[1] The nations with the most concerning sex ratio imbalance currently are China and India. The imbalance in China relates to their controversial one child policy and a cultural preference of males who are seen as better able to provide financially for their parents in their old age. China now has 32 million more males than females under the age of 20. Selective abortion and infanticide increased when cheap ultrasound machines were distributed to illegal mobile vans and backstreet clinics in the 1980s where women can now determine their child’s sex for very little money.  The imbalance in India relates to the dowry system which makes female children a perceived liability. The dowry system is described as follows: “Dowry is paid in kind or in cash by the bride’s family to the groom’s, and often includes post-marriage transfers, as well. High dowry will ensure a proper marriage into the best possible family – hypergamy, or women “marrying up”, being a tacit norm– and ensures additional prestige and reputation to the bride’s family.”[2]  Indian women practise selective abortion and hereby cause an imbalanced sex ratio of boys to girls 100: 80. Selective abortion is particularly prevalent in families where there are already a number of females but no male children. Prenatal sex determination is illegal in India and China but this law is largely ignored. There is also some concerning regarding nations in the Caucasus, notably Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In Qatar, there is an unbalanced gender ratio which is a result of the influx of male immigrant workers who cannot bring their families with them to Qatar but this is a quite different problem from the problem which exists in the other nations mentioned and hence will not be discussed in the debate.

Though the majority of the sex-ratio imbalance is the result of selective abortion and, in much fewer cases, infanticide, there is a third way in which it comes about. In China, “infant mortality among  girls  is  40  per  cent  greater  than  that  of  boys,  when  it  should  [naturally] be  instead  20  per  cent lower.”[3] Parents tend to discriminate against girls in their early years by breastfeeding them less often, taking them to doctors less often or later on in a period of illness and allocating less food to them.[4]

The proposition policy is to offer financial incentives to have female children including enhanced educational subsidies and welfare packages for female children and their parents. An example of such a policy is the Benefits for Girls pilot program which has been launched in China’s Fujian province whereby couples who have 2 female children (and no males) receive an annual lifelong pension as well as preferential treatment in housing, healthcare and employment.

A possible counter-policy may be to implement more stringent policing on infanticide and pre-birth sex selection.

[1] “Human sex-ratio: gender imbalance” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sex_ratio#Gender_imbalance

[2] Guilmoto, Christophe. “Sex-ratio imbalance in Asia: Trends, consequences and policy responses.” http://moodle.yds.edu.vn/yds2/upload/tainguyen/regional_analysis%20Sex%20ratio.PDF

[3] Guilmoto, Christophe. “Sex-ratio imbalance in Asia: Trends, consequences and policy responses.” http://moodle.yds.edu.vn/yds2/upload/tainguyen/regional_analysis%20Sex%20ratio.PDF

[4] Guilmoto, Christophe. “Sex-ratio imbalance in Asia: Trends, consequences and policy responses.” http://moodle.yds.edu.vn/yds2/upload/tainguyen/regional_analysis%20Sex%20ratio.PDF

 

 

Title 
Gender equality
Point 

Men and women deserve to enjoy equal rights. In China and India women do not enjoy equal rights. By encouraging couples to produce girls we contribute to the resolution of two problems. Female children are likely to be treated poorly in comparison their brothers. They may be given smaller quantities of food, less education etc. It is not only the physical differences in the upbringing of boys and girls that are noteworthy but also the emotional. Particularly in families without sons, daughters are led to experience guilt and a sense of inferiority because their parents are disappointed in their gender. These girls will grow up in a home without gender equality and therefore will come to accept a smaller share of family wealth as an adult and be unfit psychologically to denounce male dominance. The girls are likely to later perpetuate gender inequality amongst their own children.[1] By making it beneficial for parents to have female children, we make parents less likely to make their daughters feel guilty and inferior for their gender. Furthermore, educational grants will allow girls access to education – which is both intrinsically valuable and valuable in that it will allow the possible financial independence and the confidence to denounce male domination. Similarly, men will receive a message that it is more praiseworthy to produce a son. In essence, allowing selective abortions to take place without taking action against this practise is allowing gender inequality to stagnate in the popular wisdom. It is important to take a stance especially in a country like China where government ideology heavily effects the people.

[1] Gupta, Monica. “Selective Discrimination against Female Children in Rural Punjab, India.” Population and Development Review. Vol.13, No.1, (Mar.1987), p77. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1972121

Counterpoint 

The shortage of women in China has a positive effect on gender equality because there is a shortage of women and men therefore have to compete for romantic attention. Women can afford to be picky. “Many Chinese women place high value on a husband with money and stability. In a now famous moment from a Chinese dating show, a female contestant rejected a suitor with the iconic line, "I would rather cry in the back of a BMW than laugh on the back of a bicycle." [1] One gentleman said, If you're poor, nobody will go with you."[2]  This places women in a position of power.

Furthermore, simply increasing the number of female babies alive will not alter the gender dynamics because the preference for male children can be attributed to age old beliefs that men continue the family name and provide financial protection for their parents in their old age as well as to the dowry system in India.[3]

The following is mentioned in the People’s Daily Online regarding the traditional and cultural reasons for the gender ratio disparity: “Demographer Wang Guangzhou at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said that China’s strong preference for male children, coupled with the lack of social welfare, lay at the heart of the problem. ‘Traditional values will still prevail in some rural areas, where having male heirs is important for ensuring that the family bloodline is preserved,’ Wang said. ‘Furthermore, many Chinese families rely on their children to look after the elderly since a solid social welfare system is still unavailable for much of the population.’”[4]

For more argumentation as to why a discriminatory policy in favour of women will not address gender inequality see the opposition ineffectiveness argument.

[1] Adshade, Marina. “The Dating Surplus for Chinese Women.” 2010. http://bigthink.com/ideas/26367

[2] Sughrue, Karen. “China: Too Many Men.” CBS News. 2009. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/13/60minutes/main1496589_page3.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

[3] Pande, Rohini and Malhotra, Anju. “Son Preference and Daughter Neglect in India: What happens to living girls?” International Center for Research on Women. 2006. http://www.icrw.org/files/publications/Son-Preference-and-Daughter-Neglect-in-India.pdf

[4] “China faces growing gender imbalance.” BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8451289.stm

Title 
The policy will help alleviate the social problems arising from the imbalance
Point 

A balanced gender ratio allows that every man has a woman to marry – theoretically of course as not every individual wants to marry and not every individual is heterosexual. The majority of men and women do want to get married. In China, men face such competition to find a wife that they spend several years living in horrific conditions in order to save up enough money to have a property with which to present a prospective wife. Without a property these men will never find a wife. These men clearly have a desperate desire to find a woman.[1] There are 3 problems with this situation. 1) The dissatisfaction men experience when they strongly desire to marry but cannot is an unhappy thing and surely lowers their quality of life. By 2020 there will be 24 million Chinese men of marrying age with no wives. It has even been suggested that this dissatisfaction is contributing to a rising crime rate in China. [2] 2) Because men are so desperate they will take any woman they can get. The dating agency industry has grown massively in China and parents even gather in town squares to advertise their daughters, rejecting or accepting candidates based only on whether or not they have a property and a good job. This means couples are less likely to be compatible and, though divorce is not as popular in China as in the west, couples are more likely to be unhappily married. Divorce has increased a huge amount as the gender imbalance has increased. [3] 3) Those men who do not find wives often look to prostitution or possibly women trafficked into the country for companionship and sex. 42 000 women were rescued from kidnappers in China between 2001 and 2003. There are clear harms to the women involved in such activities and to women’s rights as a whole when this occurs. There are harms to society as a whole when this occurs in the name of HIV and other STDs.[4] 4) The prevalence of prostitution and trafficking as well as the focus on male wealth when it comes to dating and marriage placed women in a position where they are seen only as a financial asset or commodity to be sold, bought or traded. Placing women in this position will have psychological harms such as lowered self-esteem and more tangible harms when society treats them with less respect and women’s rights cease to develop in a positive direction.

[1] Gladstone, Alex and Well, Greg. “Material girls lose good men.” Shanghai Daily. 2011. http://www.asiaviews.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31566:material-girls-lose-good-men&catid=3:column-a-commentaries&Itemid=10

[2] Sughrue, Karen. “China: Too Many Men.” CBS News. 2009. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/13/60minutes/main1496589_page3.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

[3] “More women opt to end unhappy marriages.” China Daily. 2002. http://www.china.org.cn/english/SO-e/33858.htm

[4] Raymond, Janice. “Health Effects of Prostitution.” The Coalition Against Trafficking of Women. 1999. http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/mhvhealt.htm

Counterpoint 

First off, it is quite possible the gender ratio imbalance is not as large in China as it is thought to be because many families do not register their female children in order to circumnavigate the one-child policy.

Proposition thinks that trafficking will decrease under their policy. We would argue that it would increase or at the very least not decrease. These atrocities take root when a society finds more value in women as economic objects than as people. The cash transfer scheme does little to increase women’s value as people but explicitly and dramatically increases their value as economic objects. This plan does not reduce or create any disincentive for exploitation of women or girls, but it does guarantee a revenue stream from doing so

In some traditional cultures, women are used as tender to settle debts, through forced marriages, or worse. Presumably the cash transfers are to the families, not the girls themselves. This reinforces the powerlessness of women relative to their families and only reinforces their families' potential gain from economic exploitation. With the addition of cash, there would be an increased incentive reason to exploit this renewable resource. We on side Opp feel that this behaviour is dehumanizing and deplorable and the risk of increased objectification and exploitation is, by itself, sufficient reason to side with the Opposition.  A higher female birth rate is not a good in of itself if these women are likely to be mistreated worse than the current female population as it is not only life we value but quality of life and it is surely unethical to set policies that will increase the number of people being born into lives of discrimination.

Title 
Ineffectiveness of alternatives
Point 

One possible alternative to our possibly is to better police prenatal sex determination. This is highly unfeasible. In 1982 the Chinese government distributed masses of small, light ultrasound devices to ensure that women who’d already had one child were either sterilized or continuing to wear their intrauterine device. Women started using these devices for prenatal sex determination and therefore “more than 8 million girls were aborted in the first 20 years of the one-child policy.” In China prenatal sex determination is illegal and, though ultrasounds are allowed in certain cases for medical reasons so long as they are on security camera, doctors who reveal the gender of the child can no longer work as doctors. The masses of distributed ultrasound devices, however, are the basis for a large and successful black market.

A second possible approach is propaganda. “The government has launched a campaign to convince parents that having daughters is a good thing: propaganda street banners preach that preferring boys over girls is old thinking.” This too has been unsuccessful. Posters and the like are unlikely to change age-old traditional ways of thinking.[1]                      

Abortions are still free and legal right up to the ninth month, even as the boy-girl imbalance grows. A third possible approach to the problem could be to ban abortions altogether. This is unlikely to be effective as, with such high demand, a black market for abortion is sure to spring up. Even if it is effective, it may drive parents to commit infanticide instead. It also seems an unfair policy. We promote women’s rights and women’s choice and it seems wrong to prevent women who have, for example, been raped from aborting a child that they had no choice in conceiving and will possible resent.

Therefore, there are seemingly no satisfactory alternatives.

[1]Sughrue, Karen. “China: Too Many Men.” CBS News. 2009. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/13/60minutes/main1496589_page3.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

Counterpoint 

We agree that a policy to ban abortion is not conducive to the encouragement of women’s rights. We would argue, however, that more rigorous policing of prenatal gender determination could be effective. For example, an amnesty could be issued for handing in of illegally used ultrasound devices, possibly even with a financial reward for turning these in. Further investigation could be made into rumours of places where one might access prenatal gender determination. It may be difficult but all crime detection is difficult but we do it because it is important.

Propaganda has been known to change age old ideas. It is an extremely powerful force. China has shown the power of propaganda through its censorship of the internet, protectionist policies in the film industry and control of print and radio media which help ensure that the Communist party stays in power. Of course, propaganda can also be used to create positive effects. What’s important to note about propaganda is that it takes time. Propaganda in South Africa which aims to encourage the use of condoms and greater HIV awareness is only now beginning to work after ten years of running such campaigns. New infections in the teenage age group (the age group most exposed to HIV awareness particularly through schools) have decreased. [1] There is no reason why this cannot be a very effective tool in changing people’s mindsets about gender.

Furthermore, some of the changes in society will happen naturally as countries like China and India develop. As more women are educated and get jobs, people will start to realise women’s value and women will probably have more influence in the decision of whether or not to go through with a pregnancy. It is a historical trend that nations offer more freedoms and they become more economically developed.[2]Wealth leads to liberalisation and greater exposure to western ideals.

[1] “HIV/AIDS in South Africa.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa

[2] Mosseau, Michael, Hegre, Havard and Oneal, John. “How the Wealth of Nations Conditions the Liberal Peace.” European Journal of International Relations. Vol. 9 (2). P277-314. 2003. “HIV/AIDS in South Africa.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa

Title 
Abortion
Point 

It is estimated that around 10 million female foetuses were aborted in the past 20 years in India.[1] These abortions were motivated by cultural and financial reasons discussed above e.g. dowry, parents fear that daughters can’t care for them in old age, need to continue male lineage. Regardless of what one believes about the ethics of abortion, abortion causes a lot of emotional distress to women. In some cases this is because the woman has formed an emotional attachment to her unborn child. In some cases it may be because the woman has an ethical disagreement with abortion but is unable to refuse the abortion. Women are especially unlikely to have this kind of decision making power in the very countries where men are valued more highly than women and husbands tend to have power over their wives. Our policy changes the incentives that families have to get an abortion. Whereas a female child was one a costly liability, our policy now makes having female children less of a liability, if not a financial asset. This means that fewer women will have to undergo abortions.

[1] Boseley, Sarah. “10 million girl foetuses aborted in India.” The Guardian. 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jan/09/india.sarahboseley

Counterpoint 

We do not disagree that abortion is a generally undesirable thing. Even those who believe that abortion is ethical feel it would be preferable not to have an unwanted pregnancy in the first place. It may be very distressing for mothers if they have not made an autonomous choice to go through with the abortion but the proposition is wrong to assume that they have not. Cultural biases towards male children are often internalised by women. It makes sense that both mothers and fathers would be concerned about who will care for them in old age – not just men. Men and women from the same socio-economic and cultural background are also likely to have similar ethical views and therefore are unlikely to disagree on their ethical standpoint on abortion. Therefore, it is not the case that women suffer because they are forced or coerced into abortions.

Furthermore, this is not a problem exclusive to gender selective abortion. Whilst there is a greater prevalence of abortions of female babies, there are a lot of abortions of male babies as well. Assuming that abortion does cause women a lot of distress, this harm will not be removed by encouraging parents to have girls because they will continue to abort male foetuses. The solution for this problem is to educate people about alternative methods of contraception so that unwanted pregnancies do not occur and also to empower women in their marital relationships by encouraging them to have their own income and so on. This can be better targeted by self-help women’s groups and the like.

Title 
Ineffectiveness
Point 

The policy will be ineffective in two ways. Firstly it will not even achieve the goal of a balanced gender ratio but secondly, even if it did, it will not reduce the divide between men and women and make women a more valued part of society.

1. How does this plan offer advantages to the families of girls in excess of what is already available? The Indian parliament's most recent budget includes several programs designed to increase the resources, specifically including medical and educational resources, available to women and children. Programs exist to provide education to women[1]. Most importantly where do these financial incentives come from? India is currently committed to cut budget deficits especially since “General government debt now stands at 82% of GDP.” [1]

2. The plan proposed by Prop will simply exacerbate resentment of women by men who see taxpayer funds preferentially directed towards women. Men will take this resentment out on the women in their lives.. It’s possible that in some cases, female children will be more valued for the money they bring in from the government than for their own personhood. We understand that some extent of financial or social benefits is necessary to redress historical oppression, but whenever possible, governments should seek to end gender-inequality by utilizing gender-neutral policies rather than picking sides. Widespread economic development will reduce the need for poorer families to select the sex of their children based on who can bring in the most income and therefore the gender ratio will begin to balance out without implementing discriminatory policies that create anger.

A perfect example of how discriminatory policies in the name of redress can create social divides is affirmative action in South Africa. Post-apartheid has an policy name Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) according to which companies gain benefits and status by fulfilling a certain race quota amongst their employees. South African universities accept black students with lower marks than white students in order to try to rebalance the demographics of the university. This means it is increasingly difficult for white people in South Africa to find jobs. Many white people feel resentful towards the beneficiaries of BEE and there is very aggressive debate at universities between white and black students as to whether racially based admissions policies are fair. If anything these policies have divided South Africans.[2] A discriminatory race policy in China and India will have much the same effect and therefore will not achieve its aims of addressing gender inequalities.

[1] Prasad, Eswar. “Time to tackle India’s Budget Deficit.” The Wall Street Journal. 2010. http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0222_india_budget_prasad.aspx

[2] Mayer, Mark. “South Africans Continue to Seek Greener Pastures.” Sharenet Marketviews. 2008. http://www.sharenet.co.za/marketviews/mv_view_article.php?id=633

Counterpoint 

Our policy provides far more than these existing programmes (which are, we could mention, exclusive to India). By offering parents of females an annual lifelong pension we remove the fear that their  female children will not support them in their old age. This will certainly encourage parents whose primary goal in reproducing is to be financially secure in old age to have girls. Giving parents preferential employment and housing benefits would certainly be an effective incentive as 42% of the Indian population lives below the bread line.[1] There are NGOs around the world concerned with women’s rights who will help to fund these initiatives and the UN has existing women’s rights projects in China. [2]

This policy is necessary to ensure that women are born in the first place so that there is a larger united group working towards gender equality within these nations. Furthermore men will not be disgruntled at all because the money that government is supposedly spending on women is in fact going into the pockets of these parents. Whereas tax money might go to roads in parts of the country one might never use or to help people poorer that the taxpayer, this policy places money directly in the pocket of any taxpayer who has a female child. It is very unlikely that men will hate their daughters for bringing in money and for not requiring costly education – if government offers to pay for female education.

[1] “Poverty in India.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_India

[2] “United Nations Development Programme.” http://www.undp.org.cn/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&catid=10&sid=7

Title 
Commodifying women.
Point 

Surely providing a financial incentive for families to produce women causes women to be likened to a product that needs to be manufactured. Families will continue to have a social stigma against female children and they will be viewed simply as a financial asset. This is not only bad for women in general in the country but for babies that are only alive because they provide income. These children are unlikely to be loved and cared for as a male child might be and it is cruel to encourage them to be brought into the world to live life in such a condition. 

Furthermore, the commoditisation of money can only serve to worsen the problem of trafficking mentioned earlier by the proposition.

Counterpoint 

Encouraging families to have female children at least gives people a reason to value females at all, even if this is merely a financial value. In the current scenario women are not valuable in any sense. They are valued so little that their lives are ended without a flinch when they are only infants.

Title 
The proposition policy will interfere with current government policies
Point 

Prop's plan is not only redundant with some current government programs but is also wasteful of worthwhile government funds. For example, the plan pays for the education of young girls up through the high school level. This is targeting a problem that has been addressed with significant success. Currently, the rates for primary school enrolment among young girls and young boys are 94% and 97% respectively in 2007. This is a drastic change from the year 2000 when it was 77% and 94%, a 17% disparity.[1] Additional policies in the same area are inefficient and the additional bureaucracy risks disrupting this positive trend.

There are currently at least 27 ministries in the Indian government (account for almost 5% of total budget expenditure) that are allocated to providing programs for female empowerment, and of these most are taking a targeted approach that identifies actual needs within communities.[2] [2]Side Prop does not tell us how their plan will be different than any of these existing plans.

At best, Prop's plan is likely to be redundant when combined with existing policy and therefore a waste of money. At worst, it will work against established, valuable programs and actively cause harm.

More importantly, the fact that girls are attending schools in these numbers and yet a sex-ratio imbalance exists and has in fact worsened proves that better education for women does not solve or improve the problem of sex selective abortion. Therefore, prop’s policy of providing education grants is redundant.

[1] World Bank, ‘Adjusted net enrolment rate. Primary’, data.worldbank.org, http://databank.worldbank.org/

[2] Ministry of Women and Child Development, ‘Gender Budgeting in India, http://wcd.nic.in/gbman/powerpoint/third.ppt

Counterpoint 

Whilst the Indian government may have policies that empower women, they do not currently have programs that encourage more female children to be born. Thus, there is a reason to fund both of these independent programmes. This is an investment in creating a socially stable society in the long-run. The benefits of educating women have been seen in other nations. As women become more educated they gain more freedoms as they are better equipped to fight for them and their achievements make it hard for men to argue that they are inferior. This is a long term effect, however, that will not reap the mentioned benefits for some years though it is very important. Extra educational subsidies cna easily be run alongside other policies simply by being well organised and communicative. Again, opposition’s argument applies only to India while there are not educational programmes of this nature in other nations mentioned. Secondly, the pension programme we are proposing directly and immediately deals with the problem by saying to parents ‘Have a female baby and we will support you through old age so you don’t have to worry that the girl won’t do it’.

Title 
Financial incentives do not break down cultural bias
Point 

The reason why there is a bias towards male children in India is cultural. When women get married in India they become a part of their husband’s family and a dowry must be paid. As one Hindu saying goes, "Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbours’ garden." In order to change the gender ratio imbalance in India, therefore, it is important to deal with the underlying prejudices in society, not merely throw money at the problem. There are similar cultural prejudices in other countries with gender disparities. In China there is concern that female children cannot continue the family name as lineage is something male.

A good case study of a place where financial incentives have not altered the social climate regarding reproduction is Germany. Germany Kindergeld policy is particularly generous, giving 184€/month for 1 child and 558€/month for 3 until the children are at least 18 (regardless of gender). This is very similar to the Proposition plan but the birth rate has declined. In German culture there is a bias towards having fewer children and instead pursuing career but this cultural bias was not overcome by financial incentives.

The Germany Ministry of Statistics reported that the birthrate in 1970, 5 years before Kindergeld began, the birthrate per woman was 2.0. In 2005, despite ever increasing Kindergeld, the rate had dropped to 1.35. This trend is mirrored across all other European nations.[1]Of incredible significance is that the decline in birth rates is relatively even across all socioeconomic groups in Germany, indicating that even people with a low or no income do not have children for the sole purpose of receiving more money.

In order for the gender ratio to be rebalanced we need to do more than just offer money to parents who produce girls.

Governments often set blanket policies without coming to grips with the problems on the ground. It is likely that the problem is slightly different in different parts of China and that it has a far more intricate, psychological nature than proposition supposes. Cultural biases are taught to children from birth through everything language to observations of how their parents behave and these biases are internalised at a very young age. It is difficult to see how years of immersion in a culture can be overturned in adulthood by nothing more than the offer of money. There are probably more detailed reasons why male children are greater financial assets that government is not aware of. Perhaps in certain communities the prevalent industry requires strong male workers or refuses to employ females and this financial incentive will override the incentive proposed in propositions argument. In short, a blanket government policy will be unable to deal with the intricacies of the problem and a financial incentive may simply be the wrong approach.

[1] “Child Benefit Germany.” Wikipedia. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindergeld_(Deutschland)

Counterpoint 

The German example is incomparable to the countries we are discussing.

It’s most likely the case that the policy in Germany did not work because the population is too wealthy to be motivated by a financial incentive. Germany is a developed country with GDP per capita 40,874 US dollar and a “luxury” state welfare system. High education, no financial worries about the life after retirement and the fact that women pursue careers all contribute to a low birth rate. India, on the other hand is a developing country with only GDP per capita 2,941 US dollar and poor state welfare system. Moreover, 42 percent of the Indian population is under the international poverty line. Hence a financial incentive is far more effective in these Asian nations. Unlike in India, Europeans tend to regard children not as investments but as an opportunity for emotional fulfilment. They are unlikely therefore to make a decision about child rearing based on financial reasons.

Furthermore, the sense of community culture that exists in Asian nations (for example the practise of age-old traditions and the lack of cultural westernisation) is not present in Germany and so the example does not take into consideration the strength of culture in effecting decisions.

Lastly, we would argue that you cannot compare a programme which encourages people to have children at all to a programme that encourages people to have female rather than male children. The incentives of the parents are different and the goals of the policies are different.

We would argue that this policy is far better suited to India than it is to Germany and that the comparison does not hold. 

Title 
Autonomy (Please note that this argument cannot be run in conjunction with argument four as they are contradictory)
Point 

42% of the Indian population is under the international poverty line and it is they that contribute the most to imbalanced sex ratio due to economic concerns.[1] Offering a financial incentive for people to produce female children will undermine the autonomy of parents. In order for there to be autonomy, the individual needs to be able to make a rational, unforced decision. When someone is extremely impoverished, as many people are in developing economies like those of China and India, financial incentives are an offer that cannot be refused. Proposition would have you believe that we offer the parents an autonomous choice between having a female child and receiving money or not having the child and not receiving money. Of course they will take the money! Poverty removes the possibility of choice. In this way, poor parents are being forced to have female children to ensure their own survival and the survival of their already existing family.

Why is this problematic? Firstly, we believe choice is intrinsically valuable because the freedom to make choices is recognition of our fundamental humanity and individuality. If we cannot determine our own futures we are slaves. We value choice so much that we sometimes allow it when it risks causing wider social problems. For example, we allow people to smoke or eat unhealthily even though this may cost the health system a lot of money.

Secondly, people have the most empirical information about themselves and are therefore able to make the best choices for themselves. For example, a family may know that they do not have the space in their home or the time to raise another child. They may know that a boy will be better able to support the family financially later on because he will be more likely to get a job and in some cases this may even override the financial benefits offered by government. These are all important considerations that only individual families are able to take into account. A government is unable to know each family’s individual situation and therefore is not well suited to make this decision in place of the family. 

[1] Poverty in India.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_India

Counterpoint 

It is ridiculous to say that a decision based on a financial incentive is not an autonomous decision. We allow poor people to make the decision to take on a job or sell items that they own even though these decisions are incentivised by money. We still regard these decisions as autonomous. Furthermore we do believe that families make careful considerations when they decide whether or not to have children. This is evidenced by the fact that families make the decision to abort female but not male children. Parents obviously consider the choice to have a child and we do not think that this will change when there is a government based financial incentive. This is especially the case because the reason that parents currently DO NOT have female children is for financial reasons. As you mentioned, male children tend to be more able to financially support their parents in their old age in these countries. Surely then a financial incentive is exactly the right kind to provide for these parents since it is financial incentives that are causing them not to produce females in the first place. If the opposition is concerned with financial incentives for the poor then they should be concerned with the status quo.

Furthermore, though governments may not know individual situations, they do know more about the widespread societal consequences of gender ratio imbalance and the long term predictions if these conditions continue to exist. They are also more likely to be concerned with the greater good of society whilst families make selfish decisions. Many of these families make decisions not based on rational reasoning or informed, educated plans but on cultural and social wisdom that may not produce the best decision. The bias towards men is cultural ‘wisdom’ of this nature.

Lastly, we’d like to thank the opposition for showing just how effective our policy will be at encouraging families to produce girls

Bibliography 

 

Adshade, Marina. “The Dating Surplus for Chinese Women.” 2010. http://bigthink.com/ideas/26367

Boseley, Sarah. “10 million girl foetuses aborted in India.” The Guardian. 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jan/09/india.sarahboseley

“Brides for sale: Sex-ratio imbalance troubles China.” China Daily. 2007. http://www.eeo.com.cn/ens/homepage/briefs/2010/07/08/174967.shtml

“Child Benefit Germany.” Wikipedia. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindergeld_(Deutschland)

China faces growing gender imbalance.” BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8451289.stm

Gladstone, Alex and Well, Greg. “Material girls lose good men.” Shanghai Daily. 2011. http://www.asiaviews.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31566:material-girls-lose-good-men&catid=3:column-a-commentaries&Itemid=10

Gupta, Monica. “Selective Discrimination against Female Children in Rural Punjab, India.” Population and Development Review. Vol.13, No.1, (Mar.1987), p77. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1972121

“HIV/AIDS in South Africa.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa

Mayer, Mark. “South Africans Continue to Seek Greener Pastures.” Sharenet Marketviews. 2008. http://www.sharenet.co.za/marketviews/mv_view_article.php?id=633

“More women opt to end unhappy marriages.” China Daily. 2002. http://www.china.org.cn/english/SO-e/33858.htm

Mosseau, Michael, Hegre, Havard and Oneal, John. “How the Wealth of Nations Conditions the Liberal Peace.” European Journal of International Relations. Vol. 9 (2). P277-314. 2003. “HIV/AIDS in South Africa.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa

Pande, Rohini and Malhotra, Anju. “Son Preference and Daughter Neglect in India: What happens to living girls?” International Center for Research on Women. 2006. http://www.icrw.org/files/publications/Son-Preference-and-Daughter-Neglect-in-India.pdf

Poverty in India.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_India

Prasad, Eswar. “Time to tackle India’s Budget Deficit.” The Wall Street Journal. 2010. http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0222_india_budget_prasad.aspx

Raymond, Janice. “Health Effects of Prostitution.” The Coalition Against Trafficking of Women. 1999. http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/mhvhealt.htm

Sughrue, Karen. “China: Too Many Men.” CBS News. 2009. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/13/60minutes/main1496589_page3.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

“United Nations Development Programme.” http://www.undp.org.cn/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&catid=10&sid=7

Xiangyang, Tang. “Rising sex-ratio imbalance ‘a danger.’” Economic Observer. 2010. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-01/23/content_789821.htm

X