By / Aug 26

The ratio of baby boys to baby girls born in India now appears to be normalizing, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of India’s National Family Health Survey. Since the 1970s, the ratio of boys to girls has been artificially skewed, leading to millions of “missing girls”—the estimated number of how many more females there would be if there were no sex-selective abortions and mistreatment or neglect of females.

For most of human history, until the early 1980s, there has been a slight, yet consistent, excess of baby boys over baby girls born in any population. During that period the sex ratio at birth (SRB) tended to fall within a narrow range, usually around 103 to 106 newborn boys for every 100 newborn girls. 

But scholars have observed that the ratios can become heavily skewed when three preconditions are met: a widespread desire for sons and/or aversion to daughters; parents seeking to have smaller families; and the availability of ultrasound technology and abortion services (which became more widespread in the 1970s). 

Since the 1980s, biologically impossible ratios have been found in various countries around the world, including Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, El Salvador, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Portugal, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Spain,Taiwan, Tunisia, Yugoslavia, and Venezuela. 

When China implemented a one-child policy in the late 1970s, the SRBs in some regions of the country increased to between 120 and 130. As demographer Nicholas Eberstadt has pointed out, this is “a phenomenon utterly without natural precedent in human history.” Because of China’s one-child policy, there are an estimated 30 million to 60 million “missing girls.”  

China ended its one-child policy in 2016 and adopted a three-child policy in 2021. Today, China is tied with Azerbaijan for the highest SBR in the world, at 115. Two other former Soviet republics—Armenia (114) and Georgia (109)—also top the list of highest SBRs. From 2000 to 2020, Vietnam and Albania had the world’s fourth- and fifth-widest average annual sex ratio at birth (111 each). 

India remains near the top of the global list, with an average sex ratio at birth of around 110. The size of the population means the country has an outsized impact on the overall number of girls killed by sex-selective abortion. China currently has the world’s largest population (1.426 billion), but India (1.417 billion) is expected to claim this title next year. Because of sex-selective abortion or neglect, an estimated 142.6 million females went “missing” between 1970 and 2020, according to a 2020 UN report. Two countries—China (51%) and India (32%)—accounted for more than two-thirds of that total.  

As Pew Research notes, countries where males heavily outnumber females at birth also tend to have a high childhood mortality rate for girls, either because girls are being killed soon after birth, or because they are neglected by their parents during childhood.

Religion in India has historically been a determining influence on the preference for baby boys, and thus on the SRB. In 2001, Sikhs had 130 boys for every 100 girls. The Sikh birth ratio today is around 110—closer to the country’s Hindu majority (109). Muslims in the country also have an artificially high rate at 106. At 103, the Christians in India have an SRB ratio that is closer to the natural balance. 

The one bright spot in the analysis is the influence of Chrisitanity in India, especially in the southern area of the country. As the report says, Christianity has been a boon for women:

Women, in particular, may have benefited from these types of changes. Christian missions in India have emphasized evangelical work among women since the 19th century, operating schools for girls as well as for boys. There were also missionary programs dedicated to educating women and training them for employment, such as the Mukti (Salvation) Mission. In addition, many Christian organizations prioritize maternal and child health by improving women’s access to health care facilities. Some scholars trace Christian missionary work to long-lasting benefits for Christians and cite the Christian emphasis on empowering women as a partial explanation for Christian girls’ better health outcomes.

There remains a significant need for more evangelism within the country. According to the Joshua Project, India has the largest number of unreached people of any nation—1.3 billion people within 2,135 unreached people groups. 

These realities around the world are a call to action. First, we can pray that God will raise up missionaries and that the gospel will spread throughout the land. We can also pray that people will be saved and that Christianity’s influence will bring about an overall cultural change. We must also advocate, in our communities and on an international stage, for the dignity of every person—including the preborn—to be recognized and upheld. And we must be willing to step up and care for children who need a loving home and come alongside parents who need help raising their kids. Finally, let’s pray that God will use all of these efforts to lead to a future where no country will have millions of “missing girls.”  

By / May 10

Evelyn Bassoff, a psychologist and author of Between Mothers and Sons, tells the story of a celebrated bullfighter from Madrid who disappeared one evening during his own victory party. After searching the entire house, one houseguest finally found him in the kitchen, washing dishes. The guest was aghast. He couldn’t swallow the idea that a bullfighter — the pinnacle of masculinity in Spanish culture — would be engaging in what he thought of as a woman’s work. When he asked the bullfighter what he was doing, the bullfighter looked him in the eye and stated, “Sir, I am a man. Everything I do is masculine.”1Evelyn S. Bassoff, Between Mothers and Sons: The Making of Vital and Loving Men (New York: Penguin Books, 1995), 18. Cited in Nate Collins, All but Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender, and Sexuality (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), 218.

Recently, I wrote about two foundational truths that parents should teach their kids about gender. The goal of teaching these truths is to help your child, like this bullfighter, grow in confidence in their given gender. 

First, because God made mankind male and female, a person’s gender corresponds with his or her biological sex. Gender is, in this sense, fixed. It cannot become whatever we want it to be, because our gender is a part of our personhood. Being a man or a woman is a gift we receive from God.

But while our true gender is fixed, it’s important to affirm ways in which gender expression varies from person to person—even in the Bible. Think, for instance, about the two patriarch brothers, Jacob and Esau. They were both men. But Jacob imaged forth God’s orderly rule in the kitchen: he made a legendary lentil stew! Esau, on the other hand, expressed his masculinity as a hunter (Gen. 25:24–28). 

Jacob and Esau were different boys, and it’s not just Jacob and Esau. There are a range of ways masculinity and femininity are expressed across relationships and cultures today as well. In Scotland, for instance, a kilt is a cultural expression of masculinity.2Walker, God and the Transgender Debate, 31–32. In the United States, wearing one might seem more appropriate for a schoolgirl. As I described in the previous chapter [of A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Your Children About Gender: Helping Kids Navigate a Confusing Culture], the man and woman in the Genesis 2 narrative expressed their gender in the context of their relationship. Their gender expression was personal and relational. This is always the case. Gender always takes a cultural shape, and it doesn’t emerge identically across all times and cultures.

This is where raising kids can get tricky. What should we teach our children about gender expression? Are there biblical gender norms that are essential to teach our kids? If so, how do we distinguish between what is part of God’s design for gender expression and what has been culturally constructed since the fall?

Teaching our children about gender expression

The Bible never gives us the impression that it’s essential to teach culturally constructed gender stereotypes to children. Phrases such as “Boys don’t cry” or “A woman’s place is in the kitchen” should be eliminated from our vocabulary. We shouldn’t think there are certain traits that will make a boy manlier or a girl more of a woman. Even the term “gender roles” can be unhelpful when it gives the impression that manhood and womanhood, masculinity and femininity are cultural personas or scripts to which children must conform.3Russell Moore, “Gender Roles,” Video posted July 2, 2019. Accessed online at That’s not the kind of conformity we want our kids to embrace. Instead, parents should call both their daughters and their sons to be transformed, that is, to live in conformity with the character of Christ. As kids of both sexes grow in maturity and, if converted, transform into Christ’s likeness, the integration of their body and soul will ensure that they grow to maturity as women and as men.

This doesn’t negate sexual difference. Parents are responsible to teach their children, who already have a given gender, the kind of character that’s necessary to be a godly son or daughter, brother or sister, wife or husband, mother or father. 

Boys need to grow up into godly sons and potential fathers who can provide for and protect others. Girls need to grow up into godly daughters and potential mothers, that is, influential helpers who cultivate the relational structures necessary for nurturing others.

Teaching boys

For young men, this means parents should prepare them to live as servant leaders — to work to cultivate good, to fight to protect what’s true, and to take initiative:

A boy’s gendered body is a gift that enables him to help fulfill the creation mandate and the Great Commission:

  • Work for good. A typical man’s physical strength may allow him to provide for his family. Adam was created with an orientation toward work. Genesis tells us the Lord formed the man from the ground (2:7), and then he placed him in the garden “to work it and take care of it” (2:15). If a husband or father refuses to work and provide for his family, this amounts to denying the faith (1 Thess. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:8). A lazy man fails to steward the strong body God gave him (Prov. 12:24). He fails to conform his life to Christ, who sacrificed his body for our sake (1 Peter 3:18).

    We must teach our sons to cultivate their bodies, minds, and relationships—not for selfish gain, but for the sake of God and others. If a young man doesn’t love God, he’ll work with the wrong goals in mind (Gen. 4:19–24; 11:1–9). We can teach young men to get a job and start investing early — not so they’ll be millionaires by 40 but instead to learn the character and skill necessary to serve others and potentially provide for a family. Boys need dads and other older men to model service in church and community. They need to see men working with humility for the sake of justice and mercy (Micah 6:8).
  • Fight to protect. Our goal should be to raise young men with self-control, who will use their physical and emotional strength to protect others. Some men fail to control their strong emotions and become foolish hotheads (Prov. 14:16–17). Others use their physical strength for violence and abuse (Gen. 4:1–16). Adam neglected his strength. He should have spoken up to protect his wife from the serpent’s lies (Gen. 3:6). But in Adam’s failure, we receive the promise of one who does fight, protect, and who will crush Satan on the final day (Gen. 3:14–15; 1 Cor. 15:25; Rev. 20:10).

    We have an opportunity to participate in Christ’s victory when we fight for what is good and true (Rom. 16:19). Throughout the Scripture, we’re given examples of men who use their strength to protect others. Abraham went to war to save Lot. David fought again and again to save Israel. Not all our sons will learn to wrestle or do martial arts, but they can all learn to speak up and fight for what is good.

    Perhaps the most important battle we fight is the fight against our own sinful passions. As Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 4:3–6: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.” In a world that is rampant with pornography, training our sons to fight the good fight by confessing their own sinful passions is essential.
  • Take initiative. Think about how God commissioned Adam — before the fall — to live as a servant leader. He names Adam as head and representative of the human family (Rom. 5:15; 1 Cor. 15:22). But ultimately Adam failed (Gen. 3:6). Only Christ truly showed us what it means to serve as head by humbly considering others as greater than himself (Phil. 2:3–8). If we’re going to raise young men to serve as faithful covenant heads of families, we must teach them to serve sacrificially.

    When a cup spills at the dinner table, a boy shouldn’t wait for mom to grab a paper towel. Teach boys to jump up and move toward the problem with eager humility (Prov. 3:27). This is important. We must show young men that serving others as a son and brother does mean taking initiative, but it doesn’t always require being in charge. Even if our boys enter a headship role as husbands or fathers, they need to learn that these leadership roles require spirit-empowered service (Eph. 5:23; John 13).

Teaching girls 

A girl’s gendered body is also a gift that enables her to help fulfill the creation mandate and the Great Commission. Just as we prepare young men to be servant leaders, we should call young women to live in conformity with Christ’s character as influential helpers:

  • Give help and influence. When God made the woman for Adam, he created “a helper suitable for him” because it wasn’t good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). Through her gendered orientation toward relationships, a woman reflects God’s character as help and salvation for his people (Ps. 33:20, Ps. 70:5; Ex. 18:4). Every woman should be inspired, and every prideful man humbled, to see that each major era of biblical history begins with a woman: Eve — Genesis 3; Miriam and Pharaoh’s daughter — Exodus 2; Hannah — 1 Samuel 1; Mary and Elizabeth — Luke 1. Notice too that it isn’t required to be a mother to have saving influence: Miriam and Pharaoh’s daughter didn’t give birth to Moses, but God used them to bring deliverance to the Hebrew people (Ex. 2:6).4Wording adapted from Daniel Montgomery, “Gender Questions, Week 3: Women and Femininity,” a sermon at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY (Dec. 16, 2007).

    The woman was made as co-ruler with the man (Gen. 1:26); there’s shared authority in that statement. There is strength and dignity in the woman who contributes to both home and society by running the family business and leading in trade (Prov. 31:10–31). But oftentimes influence accomplishes more than authority ever could — both for good and evil (Prov. 8–9). Eve didn’t need to flex her muscles to influence Adam to eat the fruit; she simply gave it to him. Her actions had destructive power. Teach your daughters that their actions and words have influence (1 Tim. 2:9–10; 1 Peter 3:1–5). Then teach them to ask, “Is what I do and say a help or a hindrance to others? Do I think about how I can help and serve, or do I only consider how I want to be served?”
  • Nurture and empower others. After the fall, God named the woman Eve, mother of all the living (Gen. 3:20). This was a grace. The man and woman received the wages for sin but not yet fully; the woman’s body could still give life. This is a great gift. In raising children, both a man and a woman’s nurturing presence are necessary. But a woman’s design for nurture is unique. Her body is crafted by God to incubate and sustain a baby’s life from conception to birth. Her milk alone can sustain her newborn for the first part of the baby’s life.

    Not every woman will become a wife or mother, but every one of our daughters can provide life-giving care for others. Paul instructs every woman to display leadership in the church by serving as spiritual mothers (Titus 2:3–5). We see examples of this in Priscilla’s ministry to Apollos (Acts 18:26 — her name is listed first before her husband!), in Philip’s prophet daughters (Acts 21:8), and in Timothy’s grandmother Lois (2 Tim. 1:5). Such women model what it means to nurture others in the faith through strong influence as teachers of God’s Word.

Now that I have outlined some particular encouragement parents can give to their daughters and sons, please allow me to make a clarification. I’m not saying that men shouldn’t contribute to society’s relational structures. A father shouldn’t be all authority with no nurture.5Moore, “Gender Roles.”  Nor am I saying that women shouldn’t provide for and protect their families or communities; consider Deborah the judge (Judg. 4–5)!

Throughout the Scriptures, we see that both sexes are necessary for God’s people to fulfill their essential functions in the world. Both sexes are necessary to fulfill both the creation mandate (Gen. 1:28) and the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19–20). Wendy Alsup describes it this way:

At the most basic level of human existence, both sexes are necessary for bearing new image-bearers into the world, an incredible, though often downplayed function of these sexes. But whether individuals ever have biological children, the two sexes are integral in bearing and growing spiritual children. The importance of each sex is lost if we dismiss the distinct elements of their giftings or roles given in Scripture for doing the work of discipling the next generation of believers.6Wendy Alsup, “Equal but Different: A Complementarian View of the Sexes” in Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues, ed. Joshua D. Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2019), 107–108. 

It’s the importance of using the distinct giftings that we have as men and women to disciple coming generations that we need to pass along to our kids. Our goal as parents should be to celebrate our child’s biological sex, their true gender, as a gift for ministry and prepare our kids both to receive this gift and to employ it with Christ-like character. 

  • 1
    Evelyn S. Bassoff, Between Mothers and Sons: The Making of Vital and Loving Men (New York: Penguin Books, 1995), 18. Cited in Nate Collins, All but Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender, and Sexuality (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), 218.
  • 2
    Walker, God and the Transgender Debate, 31–32.
  • 3
    Russell Moore, “Gender Roles,” Video posted July 2, 2019. Accessed online at
  • 4
    Wording adapted from Daniel Montgomery, “Gender Questions, Week 3: Women and Femininity,” a sermon at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY (Dec. 16, 2007).
  • 5
    Moore, “Gender Roles.”
  • 6
    Wendy Alsup, “Equal but Different: A Complementarian View of the Sexes” in Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues, ed. Joshua D. Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2019), 107–108. 
By / Nov 12

Every person is created in the image of God. The ERLC affirms the biological differences between male and female reflected in God’s creation. God’s design was intended for human good and flourishing (Gen. 1:27). The ERLC upholds the Southern Baptist Convention’s position on gender identity stated in its summary of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message which says “Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation.”

Allowing biological males to participate in female sports is unfair to women and girls. Athletic competition clearly demonstrates the physiological differences between male and female. Biological males possess distinct physical advantages over biological females, which give them an unfair athletic advantage. These biological differences are the purpose of sports, separated by sex. Opening up sports to males hinders females the opportunity to compete and thrive in athletics.

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Allowing biological men to compete against women and girls disrupts the intent of  Title IX civil rights law. Schools that allow biological males to participate in female sports programs are discriminating against biological females. In order to protect the integrity of women’s sports, only biological females should be allowed to compete.

The ERLC calls on Congress to pass the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2021. The Act would clarify that it is a Title IX violation for schools that receive federal education funds to permit biological males to participate in female sports. Congress should protect women and girls by ensuring they are given a fair opportunity to compete in athletics. 

By / Jul 28

Trillia Newbell interviews Jen Wilkin about teaching our daughters to fight fear and learning how to study the Word.

By / May 3

Trillia Newbell interviews Jen Wilkin about teaching our daughters to fight fear and learning how to study the Word.

By / Apr 3

If you were asked to name the technologies whose proliferation inadvertently threatens the human race, what would you include? Landmines? Assault rifles? Nuclear warheads? 

Add this one to your list: the sonogram machine. 

The widespread use of sonogram technology—coupled with liberal abortion laws—has made it easier than ever for women to identify the sex of their child so that those without a Y chromosome can be killed before they’re even born. In a speech before the United Nations, demographer Nicholas Eberstadt revealed the details of this frightening trend:

Over the past five years the American public has received regular updates on what we have come to call “the global war on terror”. A no-less significant global war—a war, indeed, against nature, civilization, and in fact humanity itself has also been underway in recent years. This latter war, however, has attracted much less attention and comment, despite its immense consequence. This world-wide struggle might be called “The Global War Against Baby Girls.”

The effects of this war on girls can be clearly seen in the changes in sex ratios at birth. Eberstadt explains that there is a “slight but constant and almost unvarying excess of baby boys over baby girls born in any population.” The number of baby boys born for every hundred baby girls, which is so constant that it can “qualify as a rule of nature,” falls along an extremely narrow range along the order of 103, 104 or 105. On rare occasions it even hovers around 106. 

These sex ratios vary slightly based on ethnicity. For example, rates in the U.S. in 1984 were as follows: White: 105.4; Black: 103.1; American Indian: 101.4; Chinese: 104.6; and Japanese 102.6. Such variations, however, remain small and fairly stable over time. 

But Eberstadt finds that during the last generation, the sex ratio at birth in some parts of the world have become “completely unhinged.” Consider this graph he provides, showing the provinces in China in 2000: 

The red lines indicate where the rates should be based on what is naturally, biologically possible. Yet in a number of Chinese provinces—with populations of tens of millions of people—the reported sex ratio at birth ranges from 120 boys for every 100 girls to over 130. 

Eberstadt notes that this is “a phenomenon utterly without natural precedent in human history.” 

China is not alone in the war against baby girls. In India the ratios are almost as disconcerting. For example, in 2001, 927 girls were born for every 1,000 boys, significantly below the natural birth rate of about 952 girls for every 1,000 boys. By 2004, the New Delhi-based magazine Outlook reported that the sex ratios in the capital had plummeted to 818 girls for every 1,000 boys, and that in 2005 they had dropped to 814. 

In fact, biologically impossible ratios have been found in various countries around the world, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, El Salvador, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Tunisia, Yugoslavia and Venezuela. There are also numerous countries around the world where the “death rates for little girls, on an episodic or on a regular basis, are higher than those for little boys.”* 

This threat to baby girls, however, is not just a phenomenon found abroad. In the United States sex ratios at birth for the Chinese-American population, the Japanese-American population, and the Filipino-American population, and for the Asian-American population as a whole are out of kilter, as this graph shows: 

In 2007 the British medical journal Lancet estimated the male-female gap stood at 43 million, with 100 million “missing girls” who should have been born but were not. Fifty million would have been Chinese and 43 million would have been Indian. The rest would have been born in Afghanistan, South Korea, Pakistan and Nepal. (Keep in mind that this figure doesn’t include the “missing girls” of the other 17 countries with impossible birth ratios.) 

What is fueling this crisis? Eberstadt credits the “freakish” ratios to the “fateful collision” between, first, an overwhelming preference for sons, second, the use of rapidly spreading prenatal sex determination technology coupled with gender-based abortion, and, third, the low or dramatically declining fertility levels. 

Even if we set aside the moral horror of a world that is killing its daughters, this oft-ignored trend of female feticide could pose a greater threat than many of the high-profile concerns that are touted by the media. Recent analysis by the Canadian Medical Association Journal confirms that in large parts of China and India, there will be a 10 to 20 percent excess of young men because of sex selection—and that this imbalance will have societal repercussions. 

Imagine hordes of men, numbering in the hundreds of millions, who will never be able to have sexual contact with a woman, never be able to marry, or never leave a descendant to carry on their lineage. Think about the level of anger and frustration this will generate. Now consider the fact that the number of males fit for military service (ages 18-49) in the U.S. is currently and remains steady at 54 million. 

Will we have the sense and the fortitude to act, both domestically and internationally, to avert this disaster? Or will we let our inviolable right to abort baby girls trump our very survival? 

The West constantly frets about the alarming levels of global CO2 emissions. But we should be even more concerned about the imbalance in the level of global testosterone. As we will soon realize, changes in our global climate are a minor threat compared to the havoc that will result from the changes in global demographics.