Northwestern University

May
4
Mon 12:00 PM

Divorce in Rural China: A New Source of “Missing Females”

When: Monday, May 4, 2015
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

co-sponsored by EDGS and THE SERIES IN THE SOCIETY AND POLITICS OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC

Ethan Michelson, Indiana University

China’s gender imbalance among rural newborns, giving rise to millions of “missing girls,” has been studied extensively for decades. In contrast to this well documented and well understood source of missing females, at least several million rural women who have “disappeared” from the countryside because of divorce seem to have evaded scholarly attention. In the process of studying the experience of getting divorced in rural China, we discovered that divorce is the most important channel bringing ordinary villagers into the legal system. However, our effort to compare the experiences of men and women getting divorced was stymied by a dearth of women in relevant surveys. Turning to as many alternative rural survey datasets we could find containing information on marital status, we discovered that divorced men far outnumber divorced women in the Chinese countryside. We consider the implications of these “missing” women for scholarly efforts to understand gender differences in the life chances of divorcées, including health, career, and other socioeconomic outcomes.

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