Have you heard of China’s “breed ready” database yet? According to The Guardian, researcher and hacker Victor Gevers uncovered an unprotected database in China containing personal information like phone numbers, addresses and a ‘breed ready’ status of 1.8 million women. These women are all believed to be single, with an average age of 32 and the youngest being 15. The ‘breed ready’ status apparently hints that these women are of childbearing age.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Victor Gevers has uncovered a database of 1.8 million “breed ready” women in China.
  • The “breed ready” list yet again ties, women’s worth to their reproductive system.
  • The onus to improve the decaying population growth rate has once again fallen on women.
  • This database is an alarm bell. Will patriarchy once again manage to brainwash men into believing that the subjugation of women is necessary for the sake of mankind’s survival?

The breed ready status apparently hints that these women are of childbearing age.

China has been struggling with a decline in population growth, owing to decades of implementation of the “one child” policy. As a result of which the number of people who can work is getting lesser in comparison to the number of people who need to be cared for and the country is in a state of damage control. It has relaxed the “one child” policy, but the result was not desirable, as the birth rate is still falling. Naturally, the onus to keep the country young and working thus falls on Chinese women and their wombs.

This tale of rise and fall in the rate of population growth rate in China is steered by patriarchy and is completely devoid of opinions of the Chinese women. No one asked them before implementing the “one child” policy  and no one is asking them now after relaxing the policy either. Organisations are building databases, society is urging women to marry and prioritise family life, completely over-writing their agency over their own bodies.

Do Chinese women even want to restrict their lives to breeding children? Do they want to sacrifice personal and financial independence for the sake of sustaining the population?

No one is asking women the relevant questions and that is what is so infuriating. This list yet again ties their worth to their reproductive system. This is the kind of dehumanisation we have been dreading and feminist authors have been writing about. A male-dominated world, obsessed with procreation alleging it as a necessity for the survival of the human race and using that argument to oppress women. Imagine a world where men and the society only want one thing from you and is willing to go to any extent to get that.

The gradual decline in birth rate in many countries has presented patriarchy with yet another opportunity to justify its existence. To manipulate men into thinking that for their kind’s survival, they must subjugate women. They must force women to fulfill their ultimate duty of bringing the future generation into the world. Survival is the most primitive instinct in this world, and it clouds everything from rationality to empathy. Put a person in a space which evokes these instincts and he will dismiss everything from right to equality, agency and even consent.

Survival is the most primitive instinct in this world, and it clouds everything from rationality to empathy.

This database is an alarm bell. Will patriarchy once again manage to brainwash men into believing that subjugation of women is necessary for the sake of mankind’s survival? To what extent are patriarchal societies across Asia willing to go to reverse the current decline in population growth? Will they curtail women’s rights? Will they force them into matrimony and motherhood by forcing them out of jobs and educational institutes?

These questions are daunting, but a couple of years or decades or perhaps centuries down the line women in every nation will have to face them. Thus we must support the Chinese women today in their quest to preserve their identity, independence and agency. It is their struggle today, it could be ours tomorrow.

Picture credit: Telegraph

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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