Public policy as birth control

The Indian government is implementing a new policy to change a societal perception. Consider:

The Indian government says it will reward girls from single child families with free education and other benefits.

Under the plan, education for such girls will be made free at secondary level. They will also be given scholarships for postgraduate study.

The government says the policy will apply to all schools and colleges, both government and privately run.

Apparently India is much like other countries in South Asia, with parents feeling strong societal pressure to have male children. Unsurprisingly, this leads to selective abortions and excessive breeding to properly shape families. As the 2001 Indian census shows, its population stands at “933 women per thousand men”. This can’t continue, so it makes sense that the government wants to try something. But I’m not sure this move will be appropriate to achieve a gender balance. It seems this will lead to more selective abortions of boys than anything else. Child-raising as lottery seems wrong-headed, at best.

Obviously, I don’t think something like this would ever work in America, but it did raise an interesting question or two. If we tried something with this level of blatant gender discrimination, how long would it hold up? Would it even pass? I doubt it, but I don’t really see how it’s different than any other legal discrimination preferences we apply to education and jobs and wherever else we’ve identified discrepancies not rooted in merit. I wonder, though, in a hypothetical America where this plan passed, how long it would take the eldest daughter in a family to sue her parents if she could no longer afford school because her free education ended when the parents conceived another child.

Anyone have any better ideas for solving a gender imbalance within a population than this Indian plan?

One thought on “Public policy as birth control”

  1. Maybe they should offer such a program to families with single children ONLY, regardless of the sex of the child. This would be equitable and would encourage population control, which is woefully lacking in India. Statistically speaking, this would even out the population more equitably.

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