The Girl Child – A Shameful Truth

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The girl child in India has been the victim of the society’s narrow-minded traditions for a long time. Blind believe in outdated traditional practices has led to the inhumane act of killing an innocent unborn child. A child is murdered  just because it is a girl. It is killed because it is believes to be a burden. The worst part is that the pressure to abort a girl child often comes from a women herself and it is sad that any civilized society believes that it can progress or even continue to exist without women in it. Some of the common social stigmas associated with birth of a girl child are:

  • Menace of dowry
  • Fear of loss of face in local community
  • Desire to keep the wealth within the family, through sons
  • Fear of dependence of the girl on the family, for life
  • Attempt to control family size

For every 100 males born there are 105 females born however, most females are killed within 3 days after their birth making the new ratio 93 females for every 100 males. According to the report, female child population in the age group of 0-6 years was 78.83 million in 2001 which declined to 75.84 million in 2011.In 1994 determining the sex of fetuses was outlawed if it wasn’t deemed medically necessary.   However, ultrasounds are still used to determine the sex of a baby illegally. According to reports

 “Ultrasounds are used to save 1 out of 20,000 babies and kill 20 out of every 100 because it reveals the baby is the wrong gender.”

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If a girl child is not killed before she is born, she will continue to suffer after her birth. Some socking statistics by the All India Survey  that talk about the discrimination shown towards girl child show that:

  • While in 1960 there were 976 girls born for every 1000 boys, in 2001, there are only 927 girls for every 1000 boys.
  • Of the 12 million girls born in India, 1 million do not see their first birthday.
  • Of the 12 million girls born in India, 3 million do not see their fifteenth birthday, and a million of them are unable to survive even their first birthday.
  • One-third of these deaths take place at birth.
  • Every sixth girl child’s death is due to gender discrimination.
  • Females are victimized far more than males during childhood.
  • 1 out of every 10 women reported some kind of child sexual abuse during childhood, chiefly by known persons.
  • 1 out of 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 4.
  • 19% are abused between the ages of 4 and 8.
  • 28% are abused between the ages of 8 and 12.
  • 35% are abused between the ages of 12 and 16.
  • 3 lakh more girls than boys die every year
  • Female mortality exceeds male mortality in 224 out of 402 districts in India.
  • Death rate among girls below the age of 4 years is higher than that of boys. Even if she escapes infanticide or feticide, a girl child is less likely to receive immunisation, nutrition or medical treatment compared to a male child.
  • 53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate.

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Discrimination against female children has been a topic of debate. It has been a subject of concern and social significance. This subject raises the cultural aspects about the role of a female child in society, what her human rights are as a human being.  A social development report presented in 2010 to the World Bank and UNDP, found that the time a female child and a male child spends on various activities is similar, with the exception of domestic work and social/resting time; a female child spends nearly three forth of an hour more on domestic work than a male child and therefore lesser hours of social activity/resting then boys.

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The female child’s status in regard to health is the product of general societal attitude towards women  in India. Girls in India face higher risks of malnutrition, disease, disability and retardation of growth and development. They have no access to or control over the resources. Their work towards raising a family and in the household chores is undervalued. Some argue that due to the culture that has been in the society for so long that a girl child and her value to the family has been undervalued for long,  she is considered as a liability. She is deprived of good food and nutrition. According to a global study conducted by Thomas Reuter, India is the fourth most dangerous country for a girl child in the world.

The female child in India is often deprived from her right of an education. The basic facility of education is deprived to her. Also, even if she is in school, the number of girls dropping out of school far exceeds the boys. Definitely, this is because she is expected to help at home, either in household work like washing, cooking or help in taking care of her younger siblings. Since girls spend more time completing domestic/household chores and this increases the gap between female and male equality in rural parts of India, it perpetuates the myth that education is of no help to the girl and her primary job will be to look after the household work, get married early, have children and then raise them._63422994_01_olwe

We must take steps towards a more fair and equal society for women. Especially  women who discriminate against women. If we want to to progress we must understand the important role that a woman plays in the society. We must acknowledge her rights and provide her with equal opportunities. As an individual, the most important and effective thing you can do is to influence the attitudes of those around you. Make your friends, relatives and immediate family aware of  a woman’s capabilities. To help and know more click at the link below

http://www.dasra.org/girl-empowerment

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