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From South Asia to Diaspora: Missing Women and Migration

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  • MATTHEW McCARTNEY

    ()
    (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)

  • AISHA GILL

    ()
    (Criminology, Roehampton University, UK)

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    Abstract

    The modernisation paradigm is here tested and found wanting in a very particular context; the experience of the migrant. Women in South Asia have a biologicall abnormal chance of mortality from conception until their mid-30s. This phenomenon is thought to be related to a range of economic and cultural factors, which include sexselective abortion and gender-biased allocations of health care and nutrition. There is scant research on the manifestation of this phenomenon after migration to developed countries. The modernisation paradigm suggests that migrants will quickly adopt the norms of the host developed country. Some of the proximate causes that generate the excess mortality of females in South Asia are, indeed, not likely to be operational in a developed country; namely, female infanticide and deprivation of nutrition and health care for girls. However, the cultural preference for sons in South Asia has persisted following migration, while the specific way in which this preference is satisfied has changed: sex-selective abortion is replacing post-natal neglect of, and harm done to, girls and women. In some cases, further empirical work is required if the issue of how South Asian practices of gender discrimination might be manifest in the behaviour of migrants to the UK.

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    File URL: http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/research/workingpapers/file41139.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK in its series Working Papers with number 152.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:soa:wpaper:152

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    Web page: http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Son preference; infanticide; sex-selective abortion; migration; missing women;

    References

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    1. Sen, Amartya, 1998. "Mortality as an Indicator of Economic Success and Failure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 1-25, January.
    2. Klasen, Stephan, 1994. ""Missing women" reconsidered," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1061-1071, July.
    3. Tim Dyson, 2001. "The Preliminary Demography of the 2001 Census of India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(2), pages 341-356.
    4. Alain Marcoux, 2002. "Sex Differentials in Undernutrition: A Look at Survey Evidence," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(2), pages 275-284.
    5. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-15, September.
    6. Beenstock, Michael & Sturdy, Patricia, 1990. "The determinants of infant mortality in regional India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 443-453, March.
    7. Christophe Z. Guilmoto & S. Irudaya Rajan, 2001. "Spatial Patterns of Fertility Transition in Indian Districts," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(4), pages 713-738.
    8. Filmer, Deon & King, Elizabeth M. & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Gender disparity in South Asia : comparisons between and within countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1867, The World Bank.
    9. Shelley Clark, 2000. "Son preference and sex composition of children: Evidence from india," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 95-108, February.
    10. G. Hazarika, 2000. "Gender Differences in Children's Nutrition and Access to Health Care in Pakistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 73-92.
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