Female feticide and infanticide still rampant: Will the genocide ever stop?

female feticide and infanticide 50There is a facade of respecting the ‘Mother Figure’ in India, but what about female feticide and female infanticide that is still a big threat to the country? Moreover, what about the staggering difference of ratio between the genders? Perhaps, the proverb, ‘Raising a girl is like watering the neighbor’s garden’, which still holds true, defines the mindset of the so-called modern India.

According to the latest Indian census figures, the number of girls born per 1,000 boys fell from 945 to 927 between 1991 and 2001.

The unholy specter of illegal sex selection to prevent or destroy female offspring at the pre-conception stage or the pre-natal just doesn’t seem to stop. Even the laws that have been framed to stop female feticide have failed.

Mass graves

Recently, an overwhelming discovery of a mass grave at the backyard of a hospital in central India smacked the headlines.

Police have discovered more than 350 body parts from fetuses and newborn babies, off course they were of female fetuses. The police have seized hospital records, sent the body parts for forensic science tests and taken a hospital sweeper and two doctors into custody.

However, a question still lingers on, how can the doctors who are treated as demigods commit such a crime?

Facts & figures:

1. Nearly 10 million female fetuses have been aborted in the country over the past two decades.

2. About three-fourths of the women in the suburban area know about the sex determination test and female feticide is favored both in rural and urban areas.

3. Of the 12 million girls born in India, one million do not see their first birthday.

4. Seven thousand fewer girls are born in India each day than the global average would suggest.

Unethical and illegal use of medical technology

The unethical and illegal use of medical technology combined with a cultural preference for sons rather than daughters has led to the mushrooming of such neo-natal clinics across the country where parents can check the sex of their unborn child. Making girl child the next endangered species in the nation.

The government has proposed to set up cradle scheme to discourage Indians from killing their daughters.

Mrs. Chowdhury, the Minister of State for Women and Child Development said that the Government would adopt unwanted girls and raise them in a network of special homes. But can this really become a reality?

Things to ponder

It is a deeply ingrained patriarchal attitude to which even the medical profession and the women, who in spite of being the victims, unthinkingly subscribe.

The only long-term solution is to change attitudes. Conventionally, girls are seen as burdens, as huge dowry has to be paid for their weddings and even if they do earn income, it adds only to the capacities of the family into which they marry.

Certain studies have postulated that a woman, whether educated or uneducated, rich or poor, is not conscious of her own identity, which runs parallel to that of a man. She is unable to recognize her role in resolving her problems because of the prevalence of systems like dowry, women underemployment, exploitation in the society, etc.

Thus, banning of these tests is the need of the hour but is not the final solution to the problem. In the long run, social prejudices against women have to be overcome by improving her overall status in society. And to make it a reality, women themselves would have to take first step out from their shells into the realm where they themselves treat the girl child equally important as a male child. Only then, a girl child would find more and more acceptance in the Indian homes.

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