“Houston, we have a problem.” This was the brusque announcement from astronaut Jack Swigert following a life threatening explosion onboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft. By God’s grace, the skill of the astronauts, and the teamwork of NASA mission control in Houston, Apollo 13 returned safely to earth without loss of life.
Today, we need to hear a similar announcement with more fundamental implications for the human family. “Earth, we have a problem!” The problem is gendercide – the intentional murder of millions of females every year.
Today, there are well over 100 million fewer females alive in the world than there should otherwise be. They are not among us because they have been killed. Some were murdered on their wedding night because they did not bring sufficient dowry; some the moment they were born simply because they were female. Millions have been murdered through sex-selective abortion.
The March 4, 2010 edition of The Economist magazine published an article that ought to be a wake up call to the church, if not the planet: Gendercide: The War on Baby Girls. A longer edition may be found here.
As the article points out, “In China and northern India more than 120 boys are being born for every 100 girls.” In some provinces of China the ratio is 130 boys for every 100 girls. In the Indian states of Bihar and Rajasthan, the ratio is 165 boys for every 100 girls. What are the implications of these facts for a society? What are the moral implications when human life is taken so casually, when females are so despised by a society? What are the social implications in a country like China where there are now 30,000,000 men who have no hope for being married? What will these pressures mean in terms of the rise of homosexuality, a propensity towards war, and the buying and selling of females for brides? What are the implications for the economic health, social peace, and political justice when this kind of atrocity occurs?
Sadly, genderside is only the tip of the iceberg in what amounts to a war against women. Women are murdered through infanticide, female-feticide, dowry deaths, and honor killing. With regards to the latter, a courageous film was released last year called The Stoning of Soraya M that draws a spotlight on this horrific practice. If you choose to watch it, prepare to be sickened.
Beyond murder, there is unspeakable violence. Women are raped, battered, humiliated, impoverished, and disfigured. We are witnessing a rapidly growing market for global trafficking of girls and young women into prostitution, pornography, the child sex trade, sex tourism, and bride trafficking (think of 30 million men in China looking for wives!). Female bodies are attacked with knives, chemicals, and other instruments through female genital mutilation (FGM), breast ironing (to reduce the size of the breast), forced sterilizations, and abortions.
In the area of abortion alone, worldwide there are 46 million abortions performed every year, or 126,000 every day. This works out to about one abortion for every woman in the world. The majority are performed on unborn girls.
This war against women is equally a war against the maternal, the family, and ultimately, all of us. In his book Rumors of Another World, author Phillip Yancey points out that this hatred of the female is bringing down birthrates throughout the world: “Fertility in eighty-three countries representing 44% of the world’s population has fallen below replacement levels; in the developed countries, the net reproduction rate is 0.7 and dropping, which means that the next generation will be only 70% as large as this one.” If left unchecked, this trajectory will bring a “demographic winter” that will lead to the social, economic, and political collapse of nations.
Unlike the Apollo 13 problem that was solved technically, genderside has no technical fix. It is a moral and metaphysical problem. It is rooted in misogyny - a hatred or revulsion of women. Sexist men war against women. Radical feminist ironically also war against women in their efforts to re-make women as men!
The Disciple Nations Alliance longs to see communities and nations healed and transformed. To this end, we champion a vision for transformation as a by-product of a Biblical worldview and a wholistic ministry. Wherever we teach around the world, we seek to expose and address cultural lies that lead to brokenness and poverty, and challenge churches to take the lead in replacing these lies with the truth.
After teaching for many years in many countries, it is clear to me that one of Satan’s most powerful and destructive lies is that men are superior to women. This lie is found in virtually every culture in the world. As Christians, we combat such lies with truth—the truth found in God’s Word which values women equally with men. The liberating truth for all women is that they have intrinsic value rooted in their being made in the imago Dei—the image and likeness of God.
My heart has been broken over the plight of women around the world. To respond to this lie that brings so much pain and destruction, I wrote Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women to Build Healthy Cultures. If your heart is burdened as mine is, I encourage you to read this book. You may also wish to visit Gender Watch, a website that draws attention to this war against women.
If The Economist article has stirred your soul and made you angry, I urge you to fight back against this evil. Become informed. Read Nurturing the Nations. Encourage your friends to do the same. Then, in small and large ways, begin to stand against misogyny, fight for the dignity of women and against this new holocaust known as gendercide.
“Earth, we have a problem!”
- Darrow Miller