China: “We graduate 7 million university students a year. We’ll either make it ourselves or buy it from somewhere else.”

Those are fighting words delivered by China’s Commerce Minister Chen Deming in an interview with Washington Post reporter, John Pomfret, regarding the U.S. administration’s challenge to China’s currency devaluation.

What Chen doesn’t realize is that America has a secret weapon that flies in the face of his trash talk.  Women.  While the Republic of China was implementing its one child policy back in 1979-80, America was building its arsenal of college educated women which now outnumbers college educated men by 1.2 million.

Unfortunately, this boon for women has led some schools to lower standards for men, which is illegal and currently being investigated by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  On December 16, 2009, commissioners served 19 Washington, DC colleges including Georgetown University, John’s Hopkins in Baltimore and Howard University.

According to the Washington Post, “Women, once under-represented on campus, now outnumber men nearly 60-40 in higher education nationally, chiefly because men are more likely to drop out of school or to go into the military or prison.” – [Does this sound weird to you? Military or prison?]

Pomfret goes on to say, “Anecdotal evidence suggests some schools, particularly selective liberal arts colleges, purposefully admit men at a higher rate to balance the gender mix on campus. The most prominent local example is the College of William and Mary in Virginia, which admitted 43 percent of male applicants and 29 percent of female applicants in fall 2008. Women apply to William and Mary in far greater numbers than men.” [I used to love William & Mary.  I guess it is called William AND Mary].

Back to China: So what does this gender disparity mean for a country with the fastest growing economy in the world, currently second only to the U.S.?  Susan Greenhalgh, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine and an expert on China’s family planning policies writes, “In China, even more so than in the United States, marriage is essential to being accepted as a member of society. What about men who cannot find brides? Some have suggested that they will become roving bands of hooligans, others that they will join the army, promoting a more bellicose and aggressive China.” Greenhalgh goes on to say that she does not see this as a strong possibility, but what she does worry about is a generation “Little Emperors.” [very interesting article, one child killed his parents because dinner was late.]

The implications of China’s one child policy will no doubt become more obvious over the next decade.  One thing to take into consideration, according to – nearly 50,000 children to date have been adopted from China, 90% have been girls.  The portal cites a note, tied to a baby girl stating, “In our countryside, the thought that man is more important than woman is very popular. I don’t have the strength to overthrow it.”  Maybe the girls who grow up in America will eventually return to China and make a difference in their homeland.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons