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June 13, 2011: Mara Hvistendahl

(Click to enlarge) From left to right: Mara Hvistendahl, Beijing Correspondent for Science Magazine discusses the characteristics of the gender imbalance situation in Asia with Satu Limaye, director, East-West Center in Washington.

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men

WASHINGTON, DC (June 17, 2011) -- Sex selection has yielded an imbalance of 160 million more males than females throughout the developing world -- in China and India, but also in Vietnam and Korea, among other countries. In her first book, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men , Mara Hvistendahl argues that sex selection is spreading as countries develop; development leads to falling fertility rates and increases pressure on women to make their first or second child a boy. 

Despite common belief that women who participate in sex-selection are poor or uneducated, Ms. Hvistendahl's research shows that in reality many of these women are well-educated, independent and economically stable. In her presentation, she examined the consequences of this imbalance on the Asian region, which have resulted in the importing of brides from poorer neighboring countries, increased sex trafficking, and instability caused by the large population of young men.

Mara Hvistendahl is the Beijing correspondent for Science magazine. Her award-winning writing has also appeared in Harper’s, Scientific American, Popular Science, The Financial Times, and Foreign Policy. She has spent half of the past decade in China, where she has reported on everything from archaeology to the space program and is proficient in both Chinese and Spanish. A former contributing editor at Seed magazine and journalism professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, Ms. Hvistendahl sits on the advisory board of Round Earth Media, an organization founded to promote international journalism. Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men is her first book. ###

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