Where the girls aren't

One man's quest to woo women back to rural British villages.


Catherine Price
October 2, 2007 9:50PM (UTC)

Everyone's heard about the skewed gender ratios in places like China, where female babies are frequently abandoned or aborted by parents who hoped for a boy. But apparently in Britain, some women are skewing the gender ratio by their own free will. According to the Guardian, small towns in the British countryside are suffering from a serious lack of ladies as women move away in search of more cosmopolitan digs.

The Guardian refers to the phenomenon as "female extinction" and claims that the result is thousands of unmarried men working the land as women escape for the city. What's their proof? Well, two years ago, a guy in Alston started a group called the Village Regeneration Society (warning -- turn down your speakers before clicking on the link unless you want to hear a very loud tribute song about the project). He wanted to help spread awareness about the dire situation in Alston, where he estimated in 2005 that there were 10 men for every local woman. (Today he estimates the ratio to be 17-to-1, though the Guardian says this was calculated using information from a "pub survey" -- do with that what you will.) Regardless, the guy launched a Web site and before he knew it, men from all over England were e-mailing him with their own tales of woe. The result? He has put together a list of the 10 villages where the gender ratio is the most unbalanced, and plans to send each loser a "rural entertainment package" of "music and comedy gigs designed for village halls by digital channel Nuts TV, which is backing the campaign," reports the Guardian.

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I don't understand whether this entertainment package is meant to help woo back the ladies or just distract the guys from the fact that they don't have dates on Saturday nights. In any case, if you're female, are looking for love and are willing to entertain the prospect of moving to rural Britain, you should check out the site. And maybe you should even check out Vince Peart himself, the 23-year-old who started the initiative. "I may be the expert in the slightly dubious field of regenerating loveless rural areas," he writes, "but at least I'm the expert in something!" Now if only he had someone to love.


Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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