India is rising. Our country is zooming ahead in all fields that count at break neck speed. It is developing in all manners except the position of girls in here. Still girls are considered as a burden and killed even before taking birth. Yes, I am talking about female foeticide.
I agree India has a lot of social issues, and female foeticide is perhaps the most depressing one. It is a crime to practice. But still people opt to do this. It has became an organized crime where the parents, doctors and society is involved to promote crime to a greater extent.
Now understand what is it? Female foeticide takes place when a foetus is aborted after it is determined to be female. Under this illegal practice, the sex of the unborn child is determined by using the technique of ultrasound and if it happens to be a female foetus, it is aborted through medicine or surgery. It is one of the most rampant social evils in the country. It is rooted in the patriarchal mindset where boys are preferred over girls for various irrational reasons, not only in rural but urban areas too.
The biggest responsibility any Indian parent have after a girl is born is to start saving for her marriage. Even if they wish not to due to societal pressures they are forced to. In villages, parents don’t spend on their daughter’s education so that they can save for her dowry.
In addition to providing the girl child proper education, they need to save for her dowry and seer (things parents have to give for setting up her household after marriage). As far as a boy is concerned, they provide him education, he can work for 4 years after his college and he has the opportunity to pay back to his parents by working. Whereas a girl is either married off early or is forced to earn to buy gold, or save for dowry. There is no return (ROI), but they have to make up their minds that a huge investment has to be made when a girl is born. Others who can’t just do this:
Female foeticide is just one aspect of women degradation in Indian society. Violence against women, Honor Killings, Dowry practices, lower educational attainment by women are some of the off shoots of attitude of Society towards women.
Now, returning to the spreading awareness initiatives, we can now question the effectiveness of this strategy. Are girls being killed really because people don’t know how important they are to the society? No sir no, even if all of us are educated to the highest levels, we will still never produce girl children to the socially needed level. Because the economics of a girl child simply doesn’t make any sense.
Then will reducing the expenses of marriage and dowry address the problem? Well it will certainly increase the number of girls (because the costs of a girl child are now less) but it will never produce the socially needed number of girls. Will increasing penalties for pre natal sex determination tests help? Certainly it has the potential to correct the imbalance. But that will require a very high level of surveillance. Its biggest weakness is that it is a coercive method and tries to solve the problem without correcting the underlying market economics which gives birth to the problem in the first place.
This brings us to the question that what will work… The economics of the girl child is wrong and clearly we must correct the economics if we are to make any headway. In case of a girl child, marriage and subsequent migration is inevitable. So either we try to change the culture where traditionally the parents can’t live on the daughter’s earnings and daughters start to live with their parents only instead of migrating like the sons or we try to enhance the ‘earning power’ of the girls before they get married.
Changing the former may be a very slow process.. So the government must intervene to enhance the pre-marriage earning power of the girls instead of merely try to ‘spread awareness’. A very good case here is that of Bangladesh where each school attending girl is allowed to carry a bag of rice home every month. And believe it or not, Bangladesh performs better than India on almost all gender related indices. So enough of talk or giving fifty rupees as incentive to BPL citizens on each girl born. We need to correct the economics here.
At last but not the least, come out of the dream world and look at what the society is dpoing wrong and stand against it. If not you! then who else?
Over here is a small video from ‘Satyamev Jayate’ against female foeticide and to save girl child. Have a look at it and join hands to stand against it. If we won’t do something then the society is not going to change on it’s own.