australia, battleofthesexes, demography


Spiegel Online (German) apparently followed up on the “ugly duckling” Mont Isa, Queensland, story I recently wrote about and comes up with some interesting figures regarding the Australian gender balance. When I was told by an Australian friend late last year that “there are hardly any good men in Sydney these days” I did not think she was talking statistics. But it turns out she was. Apparently, the borough of Annandale is the best place for men to meet women in Sydney, as there are 1.48 of them for each male inhabitant. Unfortunately, they did not add age brackets to the raw numbers, which would have added some more interesting information. The problem is only slightly less pronounced in most other parts of Sydney and other coastal areas in Australia.

In general, the article explains, there are more women living in the coastal cities, and more men in the Outback – like in Mount Isa, or in Glenden, where there are apparently 23 men for every woman. It’s a geographic imbalance exacerbated by the economic boom in raw materials (which is driving men to mostly male mining cities in the Outback) that is adding to Australia’s apparent overall lack of about 100,000 men, most of whom are apparently working abroad nowadays.

Given such an imbalance  – 100.000 is significant for a population of only 21m – one has to wonder what keeps driving Australian men abroad and Australian women from rural areas to the Australian coast.

australia, oddly enough

Updated: Oddly enough: Mount Isa, Queensland, edition

I’m the last person to deny that demography can be an important variable in social developments. Sex ratios in particular seem to be an important aspect when pondering about East German Hooliganism (75 women per 100 men in some areas) or the recruiting strategies of terrorist organisations in the Middle East (dying as a martyr while hoping to find 72 huris in paradise is could more appealing when the chance of actually meeting a woman while being alive is not just socially low, but also statistically – as in, say, Saudi-Arabia, where there were 100 women for 217 men in 2005, if I remember correctly). Foreign Policy even wondered whether “The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration” -particularly in Asia where the invention of the sonogramm led to widespread female infanticide – were actually the world’s biggest security issue in the early 21st century. So, well, as Edward Hugh puts it so eloquently – demography matters.

And apparently, demography also matters in Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia.

Mount Isa, Queensland

Mount Isa, Queensland

The town’s mayor, John Molony, was apparently so troubled by the excess testosterone in the city that he did not want to wait for a natural equilibrium to develop. In what may be considered a miner-cover of Emma Lazarus – Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free – according to this BBC article and this one from Reuters oddly enough, he has come under fire after saying that female “ugly ducklings” might benefit from the town’s shortage of women.

“with five blokes to every girl, may I suggest that beauty-disadvantaged women should proceed to Mount Isa”.

With a gentlemanly mayor like that, I wonder what kept any woman from moving there in the first place…

Update: The Sydney Morning Herald has a follow-up with some more interesting information – “Beauty-Disadvantaged Singles Outcry“. There’s a good chance Mr Molony will be the first mayor worldwide to have caused his constituents to rally for telling them they’re not sufficiently sexually attractive –

“It paints the women here as second rate and suggests that the men will settle for anything. He has put everyone down,” she said. “We’re going to get together to put forward our opinion.” Up to 100 women, carrying banners and placards, were expected to take part in the protest.

The best thing is, though, that he apparently got his numbers wong – the Sydney Morning Herald cites the 2006 census, according to which males apparently made up 52.6 per cent of the town’s population of nearly 20,000.

australia, traveling

Santa in Seoul.

Green SantaAfter a couple of stressful weeks, I’m on my way to Australia, where I’ll be spending the next couple of hopefully far less stressful weeks. On the other hand, a journey that begins and ends with two consecutive ten-hour flights probably doesn’t count as completely stress-free. Right now, I’m spending the time between said ten-hour flights in the transit area at Seoul International airport. While this is most certainly not the best place to get an idea of South Korea, the country’s culture has managed to get into the duty free zone.

While there are, not entirely unexpectedly a couple of days before Christmas, quite a lot of Santa-inspired attempts to withdraw Dollars and Euros from bored transit passengers’ pockets – the Korean idea of “Santa” has not yet been assimilated by soft drink marketing. In South Korea – well, in the tiny part of South Korea I have now come to know – Santa is usually young, quite attractive (which implies the complete lack of Santa’s well known facial hair), wearing a green miniskirt and knee-high white leather boots.

I may be mistaken, but my guess is that over here there will be more 13 year old boys who still believe in Santa than at the North Pole.