Changing Sex Ratios and the Elderly Missing Women Problem in East Asia: Causes and Consequences

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sehar EZDI, Institute for Gerontology, University of Vechta, Germany
Harald KUENEMUND, University of Vechta, Germany
Since the introduction of the term „Missing Women“ by Armatya Sen in 1990, several scholars have theorized explanatory factors and analyzed the extent of the phenomenon. Most of this research, however, focuses either sex ratios in the whole population or at birth and in very young age groups. We widen the scope by discussing causes and consequences of elderly missing women. Such an elderly missing women problem might be the (summative) result of gender discrimination over the whole life course, of unequal sex ratios in special birth cohorts in the past, and period or cohort effects during the life course of these cohorts. The paper firstly systematizes these causal factors across the life span to explain the causes of an elderly missing women phenomenon. Secondly, UN population division data is used to provide empirical evidence to the extent of the phenomenon in East Asia, using countries from the Middle East as a contrast. By applying cohort and age group perspectives over time, the relative importance of the potential causal factors will be assessed. Finally, consequences for future development and social policy – for example, informal care needs in case of elderly missing women – will be dicussed.