Between BIRTH & DEATH - 'The Girl Child'

O ri chiraiyya, nanhi si chiraiya

Angana me phir aaaja re

Human tujhpe hazaron sitam hain kiye

Human tujhpe Jahan bhar ke zulm kiye…..


The united nations says an estimated 2,000 unborn females are illegally aborted every day in India.

India accounts for 45.8 million of world’s missing females over last 50 years: UN REPORT.

As per UNFPA, missing females are women missing from the population at given dates due to increasing effect of post-natal and pre-natal sex selection in the past.

According to this analysis, India has highest rate of female deaths, 13.5 per 1000 female births.

All these facts and figures above point towards the inhumane yet very prevalent practise of female infanticide and female foeticide. Deliberate killing of the girl child after she’s born is termed as female infanticide whereas female foeticide involves illegal determination of sex of the foetus and aborting if it's a girl.

REASONS FOR FEMALE INFANTICIDE

The overarching reason underlying this evil practise is ‘patriarchy’. Patriarchy is set as default in the society where the men are constantly put on a higher pedestal by the society, rules and laws as well. The superiority of male is merely a notion inhabiting people’s psyche, which is continuously reproduced and passed on from generations to generations, so much so that it has become entrenched into the deepest recess of our minds. Thus, we rarely question it, and continue to abide by it even today. Males always the first preference and regarded better than women, even if this thinking has no Logical or biological reasons to it. This thinking is majorly reinforced in the public minds through revered Hindu scriptures, Epics and religious text that strongly favours the male superiority whereas serving as loyal wife was the considered the highest dharma of female.

India is one of those countries where son preference is all pervasive among families and has been more of custom, to have at-least one male child to carry on forward the family name, because daughters can’t since they’re born to get married and set off to her in-laws house one day.

Thus the main cause of the infanticide for women is the Dowry system in India. There is a system in India where the bridegroom's party has to pay money on the bride's side during the wedding and it creates a problem for poor families who cannot afford this.

Girls are considered as financial obligation by many parents. This primary assumption that girls are to be married off one day and hence don’t need to have education, denies their subjectivity and agency. From a very young age women are fed these notions which ultimately leads them to internalise it and shape their life and choices around the prospect of getting married and making a good housewives.

Therefore boys are believed to be the ones looking after the parents in their old days, hence parents spend more on their education.

Family pressures forms another reasons for female infanticide and female foeticide. Women are always pressurised to bear male child, as if they can control the sex of the embryo. In most of the other cases they’re mentally and physically harassed, and twitted if they fail to do so. girls from poorer families are at greater risk. They often face different types of injuries, neglect, and violence in the form of abuse, abuse, domestic violence, rape, etc.Illegal sex determination

In 1994, with the passing of the Pre-Conception and the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, the Indian government made it legal to disclose the sex of an unborn child without any formal medical intentions. However, law enforcement was in varying degrees, and in a large part of the country the sex ratio at birth was getting worse.

According to Girls Not Brides, about 27% of girls in India are married before they turn 18.

Indian police routinely arrest criminal gangs that provide testing for pregnant women, usually charging up to 4000 INR. India's distorted proportion of men to women - currently between 900-930 per thousand men - reflects India's deeply entrenched attitude towards girls. Boys are seen as breadwinners and girls are considered a burden on all levels of society. Boys are more likely to get better nutrition and better treatment than girls.

SOLUTIONS

To fight this vile practice we need a substantial ideological shift in the society, we need to address the entrenched customs and beliefs carried on by people for centuries altogether. We need to change the way people view gender difference. Questioning and challenging people’s beliefs is crucial, which is surely not an easy one.

The issue emerges from the cradle of the ideal of patriarchy, which gives them the ‘male privilege’, empowering them to be sexist, misogynist and blatantly shrug off any responsibility.

Increased awareness of the problem has led to celebrities and journalists launching numerous campaigns against unwanted abortions. Aamir Khan donated the first episode Daughters Are Precious to his Satyamev Jayate program to raise awareness of this widespread practice, with a strong focus on Western Rajasthan, known as one of the places where this practice is common.9 A quick response was shown locally. government in Rajasthan after the broadcast of the game, which reflects the impact of the media and national awareness on the issue. Officials were sworn in to establish courts that would punish abortionists. They canceled the licenses of six sonography centres and issued notices to more than 20 others. This is done on a small scale. Cultural intervention is hosted by theatre. Games such as Pacha Manu, which deals with killing infants / female foetuses, have been produced by a women's theatre group in Tamil Nadu. The play was especially directed at infanticide / female genital mutilation and led to the redefinition of awareness, opening up new avenues for understanding and overturning cultural expressions.


Media - both print and electronic - plays a very important role in eliminating bias as well

to develop a positive image of a girl child in society, but in a region like ours there

are problems with access to rural areas and backward nations, a mix of various media outlets

traditional means of communication can provide an effective alternative to influence

illiterate and poor.


Development of school strategies that instil positive self-esteem among girls.

Joint efforts to break the stereotype of gender stereotyping especially at +2 level. Observant input in the curriculum, textbooks, teacher training centre support supported by career guidance, counselling. Special awareness programs and public awareness campaigns.

Promoting sensitivity to gender issues to impact policymakers, planners, and managers

and enforcement equipment is another important strategy. Department of Women and

Child Development has already launched a special effort to develop a positive image of the girl child and women.

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