From South Asia to Diaspora: Missing Women and Migration
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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