‘Male-dominant migrant wave threatens Europe's gender equality’
As European nations continue to accept thousands of refugees, officials are failing to consider that most young adults entering are males, a fact that could have a huge impact on gender equality, says Valerie Hudson, professor at Texas A&M University.
Critics of Europe’s loose and liberal policy towards refugees flooding its shores were galvanized by the harrowing news out of Cologne, Germany on New Year's Eve.
According to an internal report by Germany's state police, the Bundespolizei, obtained by DER SPIEGEL, it was written by an official that "[W]omen, accompanied or not, literally ran a 'gauntlet' through masses of heavily intoxicated men that words cannot describe."
RT spoke with Professor Valerie Hudson on a subject that European leaders are apparently ignoring as they continue to open the door to thousands of migrants from North Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East with little or no concern for the sex-ratio makeup of the arrivals.
RT: The majority of migrants arriving in Europe are young unmarried males. How could that affect the overall social and cultural landscape on the continent?
Valerie Hudson: Over two-thirds of the migrants in this wave are male. As far as Sweden is concerned, I put to one side adult males because one never knows if adult males may be bringing a family subsequently. I looked primarily at older teens – 16-17 years old – and what I found is that most of these are unaccompanied and over 90 percent are male and that means a significant alteration in the sex ratios for Sweden for that age group. My calculations show that there are now approximately 125 boys aged 16-17 for every 100 girls aged 16-17 in Sweden. That is highly abnormal. It is significantly more abnormal than China, whose sex ratio for this age group – due to the problems of the one-child policy – is only 117 boys for every 100 girls aged 16-17.
RT: Norway has a government-run program teaching migrants how to treat women. Meanwhile in Germany, we now have the Cologne mayor calling on women to alter their behavior around men. Which is the way to go?
VH: That’s an excellent question. What boggles my mind is that no one in Europe has been asking this question. I’ve been studying societies with abnormal sex ratios favoring males for over 20 years… and I can tell you on the basis of my research that societies with highly masculinized sex ratios, that is, with far more men than women in the young adult age group, are unstable. They have higher rates of violent crime, property crime, crimes against women. Women’s freedom to move about in an unconstrained manner is curtailed and there is also a very high demand for prostitution and trafficked women to fill that need, that demand. And so I think someone should be asking whether the alteration in the sex ratio for Europe is not a tragic loss for the women of Europe, for ideals of gender equality in Europe and so forth.
RT: One attacker in Cologne was quoted as saying that "they should be treated kindly as Merkel has invited them". Could it be that migrants indeed have a sense of entitlement when coming to Europe?
VH: There are two issues here, and they’re separate issues. One is the question of assimilation, the idea that many of the migrants are coming from cultures in which women are perhaps not viewed as the equals of men, and standards of modesty, standards of male-female interaction in public spaces is vastly different. So yes, anything that one can do to ease assimilation would be helpful.
But there’s a second problem, and it’s the second problem that I’ve been dealing with, which is: It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about migrants from Afghanistan or Greek Orthodox migrants or Hindu migrants. When you get masculinized sex ratios – even if it has nothing to do with migration, like we see in India – you’re going to get these same problems of crime and instability and curtailment of movement for women. So it’s not simply an assimilation issue; it’s also a sex-ratio issue. Canada for one has taken a different approach to migration... it will not allow in unaccompanied males unless they are of a particularly vulnerable group, like gay men. They are refusing to allow these alterations in their sex ratio to take place, and I think it behooves European countries to think about similar measures.
Women in Europe fought not for decades but centuries to create the kind of culture where gender equality could flourish.
RT: Could there be any backlash from local politicians pushing citizens to change their ways for accommodating migrants?
VH: Well, there ought to be backlash to this. The rest of the world looks to North and Northwestern Europe as the shining example of how a society can achieve gender equality. On any measure of women’s rights or gender equality, nations like Sweden and Norway are at the top of the heap. What a tragic loss it would be not just for those countries, but for the world. For those nations to now say their women: ‘You know, maybe you should stay home on nights of public festivals; maybe you should dress differently.’
Women in Europe fought not for decades but centuries to create the kind of culture where gender equality could flourish. Sweden prides itself on having a feminist foreign policy; Sweden prides itself on having a complete abolitionist approach to prostitution. These are countries that have embraced feminism. So to now turn around and say ‘You know women, maybe you should alter your behavior,’ isn’t that a stunning loss for these nations?
The state has an absolute obligation to its citizens to attempt to preserve that normal balanced sex ratio.
What has been missing in this debate is that a normal balanced sex ratio is a very precious thing. It is a public good. And the state government has an absolute obligation to its citizens to attempt to preserve that normal balanced sex ratio. So to the extent that they have neglected this issue, that it has not even made it onto their radar screen, is actually an indictment of the leadership.
Valerie Hudson is professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and co-author, most recently, of The Hillary Doctrine: Sex and American Foreign Policy.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.