Simplifying a problem as complex as female foeticide to define its causes and consequences seems almost improbable. However, I have made an effort to narrow down the problem, its causes, and its potential consequences to the best I could as follows:Problem
: Girls in parts of Southeast Asia (primarily India and China) are being killed even before they have a chance to be born. The numbers of females are dwindling. Sex ratio (female:male) is getting worse every year as these areas are becoming more affluent and have easy access to modern-day technology to get abortions done without any serious medical consequences. Current sex ratio in the worst affected regions stands at 50 girls : 100 boys in the age group of 0-6 years. There are also cases where girls are not aborted, but they usually die within the first year or two from lack of care by parents or they are murdered. Studies have shown that the numbers of girls reported for vaccinations is less than the numbers at the time of birth
. Further yet, this number drops drastically for school admissions. In short, girls continue to be treated as a liability, a burden, that is best removed right when it is born or even before it is born.Causes
: Simply put
1. Dowry system where parents of the bride have to pay the groom's family to marry their daughter. Higher the dowry, better the chances of a girl getting married. Of course, an unmarried girl is a blot on a family's honor, which leads me to my next point.
2. Misplaced archaic cultural (nonsense) of girls being the 'honor' of the family. Sadly, this is true for a majority of cultures around the world, but some take it seriously enough to resort to murderous acts for the sake of 'honor' that is driven by super-sized inflatable male chauvinist egos.
3. Girls don't propagate family name and neither does the family property stay in the same family. (Last time I checked my knowledge of genetics, I thought girls got exactly the same genetic information from their parents as did their brothers, and girls propagate the family genes just as much as their brothers. Perhaps I should sue my schools for misguiding me.)
Update on March 22, 2008:
4. Family Planning
: Click here
to read furtherConsequences
1. Women's health: There are women who have to undergo numerous abortions in hopes of getting a son at the risk of not being able to conceive again. They have even higher chances of being abused and abandoned by their husbands and families once they cannot conceive and haven't even produced a son. Some women don't have the financial means to consult qualified physicians, so they settle for quacks who are available in plenty, and thus endanger their health immensely. There are reports of these quacks prescribing testosterone to women who want a male child resulting in increase in cases of cancer among women and the birth of eunuchs
. In addition to that, emotional and mental strain that a woman goes through is not considered important at all. She is left alone to suffer.
2. Women being trafficked
: Stories of women being bought from the poor regions of the country for men who can't find themselves brides in the affluent parts affected by adverse sex-ratio are already making news. There are also news of women being bought and abandoned or sent to another man once they have produced a son
. Long distance brides
are being bought from a completely different culture and are forced to adjust to their new homes with new culture, new language, and far away from their families.
3. Women being abused and sexually exploited: Although it is invariably happening already, incidences of young girls (children) as well as older women being raped and forced into polygamy are to see a leap in numbers if the current trends of mass extinction of the female gender continues at the same pace.
4. Suicide rates in women will increase. Their psychological health will suffer. Their physical health will suffer. In short, the female gender is doomed if we don't do anything about fixing the problem we have at hand.
5. Violence amongst men: With a lack of proper family institution at home, men are bound to resort to aggressive means to expend their energy when they are not busy making money or beating women they bought because they couldn't give them sons in the first go.
Update on March 25, 2008:
To read more about consequences, click here
1. Education, education, and education geared towards women empowerment
2. Financial lures for families who are below a certain income level
3. Awareness of extreme consequences of an evil like Female Genocide through media intervention
... and, of course, #3 is what we are trying to do through this blog. Thank you everyone for your feedback and words of encouragement on the emails. I am looking forward to invite a few writers to contribute to this blog so that we can bring about a change that seems improbable at the moment but certainly not impossible.
As for # 1 and # 2, I am yet to hear from the NGOs I contacted in India. However, I was assured yesterday that I will soon hear from them and was guaranteed help. I am quite optimistic and I shall keep you updated.
Update on March 26, 2008:Potential solutions
and Have your say
Labels: Causes of Female Foeticide, Consequences of Female Foeticide, Progress towards solutions