Saturday, 9 April 2011

Save The Girl Child

Census is an activity which is carried out in India every decade. The aim of the census is to take a count of the population of the country, understand the detailed demographics and use this for detailed planning of future activities and resource distribution.

India Census 2011 has been completed recently, in Feb 2011. Among the significant highlights are the the following facts.
  • India's current population is a staggering 1.2 Billion - almost 17% of the world's population.
  • The population has grown by 181 Million in the last decade - but at a rate slower as compared to the previous decade. 
  • The sex ratio has been tagged at 940. It means that for every 1000 men, there are 940 women.
These statistics highlight the immenseness of our population. As for the sex ratio, it has been a positive move from 2001 - when the sex ratio was 933. 

However, there is another alarming statistic that has emerged.
  • The child sex ratio (determined for children between the the age 1 day to 6 years) has declined to 914 from the 2001 value of 927.  
  • This child sex ratio is the lowest since our Independence in 1947.
A closer look at the detailed demographics would reveal that the child sex ratio is less than 900 in 8 states across India - including the two biggest states - Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. 

If this statistic is alarming, the next graph would leave you dismayed.


    The child sex ratio has been continuously reducing since the 1961 i.e. for the last 50 years.

    What is it that is causing an unabated decline in the Child Sex Ratio? 

    It would be worthwhile to go back to the school days and understand how a baby boy or a baby girl is born.
    • Every human being has 46 chromosomes - a total of 23 sets. Each of the two parents contribute one from each of the 23 sets to the baby - a total of 23 chromosomes.
    • One set of chromosomes determine the sex of the baby.
    • The lady has only one type of egg - with an X chromosome. It can be either the X or Y chromosome containing sperm - from the man - that fertilizes the egg.
    • If the baby has two X chromosomes, a baby girl is conceived. If the baby has a X and a Y chromosome, a baby boy is conceived.
    And considering the fact that you cannot govern whether a sperm containing a X chromosome or a Y chromosome  would fertilize the egg, the probability of conceiving a boy or a girl would be uniform. In simplest terms, it would be 50-50.

    But if this is the case, what is it that is causing such an imbalance in the Child Sex Ratio? Why is is that you have just 914 little girls for every 1000 little boys? Is there something which does not meet the eye?

    Let's go back to 1971. It was in 1971 that Abortion was legalized in India. The Indian MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) Act laid down the conditions under which an abortion could be taken up. It aimed to empower the women - to take a conscious decision to give birth to a child - and protect her from harmful medical conditions.

    But as all good things come with certain bad things, this too had its own share.

    Using a technique called as ultra sound scanning, the people could determine the sex of the baby carried by the lady. If this was just for information purposes, it wouldn't have done any harm. 

    But people started misusing this information. If the sex of the baby was not as per their expectations, or the expectations of their family, or other such conditions - abortions were done to terminate the pregnancy. Sometimes it was with the concurrence of both parents, while in many many cases - it was done without respecting the thoughts and views of the lady or both the parents.

    A child was being killed before he or she was born. This was foeticide. And it was female foeticide which resulted in the imbalance in the child sex ratio.

    The Indian Government woke up to this harmful practice in 1994 - by making ultrasound scanning, just to determine the sex of the fetus, illegal.

    While this was a step in the right direction, it has not completely arrested the problem. If you would read this news article, you would understand that still we have many people in the society who beat the law to carry out ultrasound scanning for the very purpose it was banned. 

    You would be hurt when you read that a district, with 19 ultrasound scanning centers, has a very low child sex ratio of 774. Definitely, malpractices are on. 

    I'm wrong - it's not malpractices. It's murder. And no one is being punished.

    To understand the reasons why people go to such clinics, it would be important to consider an example - which I came across recently. 

    The question plaguing the mind of the lady is simply depressing.

    ==
    I have been married for seven years into a very good family. I have a daughter and am pregnant with my second child. My husband wants a son to carry on his business. I explained to him that we cannot choose what sex our child is born, children are God's gift. But he says we must keep trying till we have a son. I don't want to have more than two children and am very disturbed. My in- laws also are with my husband on this issue. What do I do?
    ==

    Here you have a lady who is definitely well educated, with an equally educated husband. She has her mind over her shoulders. Yet, her husband and family are pressurizing her to have a boy child - a thing which she can't control.

    In this case, if the lady has to meet the whims and fancies of her husband and the family, she would end up having more than two children - a thing which she is averse too (in our modern difficult times).

    While in some cases the parents do have more than two children with the intention of having at least one boy child, for others - it is simply not possible - given their economic and social conditions. And in such cases, they go in for female foeticide.

    And if this is the case with well educated people, consider what would be the case with women who are not literate. Women who don't have the power to choose. Women who are not economically and socially independent. The situation is indeed dejecting.

    To understand the gravity of the problem, you can consider the note below.

    ==
    A survey by Action India of Women in Delhi revealed that even the highly educated women have resorted to as many as a whopping eight abortions to ensure that they only give birth to a son. 
    ==

    Why is someone averse to having a girl child? Is it because they are apprehensive that the girl child will not be sucessfull in this world? Or is it because they want a boy to take care of them in their twilight years? Or is it just for the sake of it? 

    Or is it just to meet the wishes of senior members of the family? Or is it because the difficulties the girl will face in her life, in a society - which many perceive as - a male dominated society? 

    A study by Government of India indicates the few significant reasons for such situations.
    • 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 
    • Wish to appease Gods in times of crisis
                                    As you can see, most of the reasons are social. And most are irrational. Most are unjustified. It is very important to understand these reasons and causes, because only then steps can be taken to avoid the situation due to any of this causes.

                                    The reasons for not having a girl child can be many. But all such fears are unfounded. All such concerns are irrational. The social reasons are created by the society itself and they need to be banished.

                                    It is important to ask some questions which would make someone think twice - if the thought of being averse to having a girl child - would cross his or her mind. 

                                    If it is a question of being sucessfull, a woman can be equally sucessfull as a man. In some cases, she can be much more sucessfull. 

                                    In the real life illustration quoted earlier, the father wanted a boy child so that he could carry forward his family business. Doesn't he know that you have many intelligent and sucessfull women at the top of many businesses? Doesn't he know that the President of our country is a lady? 


                                    Doesn't he know that some of the biggest politicians are ladies? And doesn't the entire nation listen to them when they take on to the dais? Aren't our girls the best in the world of sports? Haven't we sent our girl to space?



                                    And if someone is thinking that a woman can be sucessfull only in a urban environment, then he or she is wrong. You should have a look at this news article - featuring Sunita Devi. 

                                    Sunita Devi is the sarpanch (head) of her village in Haryana. She has made a difference to the life of women in her village and will inspire other women in other villages in similar situations. 

                                    While this was a case of a traditional middle-aged woman donning the roles of a leader, Chhavi Rajawat is an inspiring new age lady. She is a management graduate and the head of her village. 


                                    She had recently being to the U.N. - speaking about the "Role of Civil Society in Fighting Poverty and Promoting Development". You should read this news article about her U.N. visit. She was also featured on India Today.

                                    Well, the writing is on the wall. There isn't absolutely anything that a girl cannot achieve. She can win the world. 

                                    India is considered to be a land of many God's and Goddess's. We pray to these Gods and Goddess's to seek their blessings - both in good times and time of needs. The all powerful Goddess's are also women and we look upto them. And we should also look upto the girls. And should abolish the discerning thoughts of having a girl child.

                                    There is absolutely no harm in having a girl child. The parents and the society should be empowered to make the girl ready for the future, ready for her life ahead.

                                    A little girl should be given the right and the best possible education. She should be bought up without any prejudice against her. She should be given whatever her parents are capable of. And if all these are done, there isn't even an iota of doubt that she is on the road to success. 


                                    She will definitely be sucessfull enough to take care of her family. Her independence - social and economic - would make her strong and brave to face our difficult world. And such a girl would certainly be able to take care of her aging parents.

                                    If someone is so detrimental to have a girl, and would like to have a boy child, they should think that some two decades down the line - they would be searching for a suitable girl to get their son married. And if all parents would just like to have boys - like they do - where would you get a girl from?


                                    Haven't we heard of the quote - Educate a man, you educate one person, educate a woman, you educate a complete family. It is here you can understand the importance of a lady. 

                                    The Government of India has taken steps in the right direction to improve the situation. Some prime initiatives include free and compulsory education for the girl child, and enacting laws against dowry. 

                                    The first one is to make the girl ready for her future, make her independent and enterprising. The second one is to set her on course for the rest of her life - without causing any hardships for her family and herself.

                                    But what is more important is to have a mindset revolution. People should discard the gender bias they have in their mind. People should overthrow any apprehensions they have towards the girl child. 

                                    They have to realise that she is very important for the success of our society. That's why the Girl Child Campaign in India says - A happy girl is the future of our country.


                                    After all, a Girl Child can become an inspiration for your life!!

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                                      31 comments:

                                      nidhi said...

                                      very well written
                                      hope this message gets conveyed to maximum people so that we together make our country better

                                      magiceye said...

                                      indeed!

                                      Geeta Singh said...

                                      very nice ..awesome post :)

                                      Nishana said...

                                      Well written post!

                                      RoHiT Iyer said...

                                      Great post and I am not going to sue you for snatching away the blog post I meant to publish on the 15th of April :D.. I have one, on the same topic in my drafts, waiting to be published.

                                      Amazing piece of work! Keep writing! :)

                                      --
                                      RoHiT
                                      dial-a-denial.blogspot.com

                                      Bharathi said...

                                      very well written and explained.. it is just awesome..

                                      Pratibha The Talent said...

                                      a very informative, very written and presented on a topic that really need awareness.

                                      pri said...

                                      now this is what i call a 'beautiful mind' at work..a very informative & insightful post!!

                                      subtlescribbler said...

                                      a long...long post yet i tried my best to go thru it completely! yes, this is a topic of great concern...and v shud do whtevr possible to not just save the girl child but also let those alive live a life of peace and happiness.
                                      I may sound insane..but even if those 940 women r made to have proper rights to all the necessities..v have played our part!

                                      sarah

                                      UB said...

                                      Such an informative post. It's sad but a fact that even today in many parts of India girl child is not given such importance. It's about time we got some changes. Thanks for stopping by my blog:)
                                      Will try to include IPL soon!

                                      Blue Lotus said...

                                      Well Written for one.We really need to reason out.A family needs two children,boy or a girl does it really matter?Isn't it more important to have healthy disciplined children than wondering about the sex of the child.Beats me.
                                      My grandmother says,"Let it be a boy or girl,I don't care.Please let it be a healthy one."

                                      confusedyuppie said...

                                      what is even more alarming is that the sex ration for nris in the us is as worse than india. becasue usg is not illegal there. even foreign exposure and an urban relatively affluent lifetysle has done nothing to subvert this phenomenon

                                      Rekha said...

                                      Well written but when educated people do it, it is murder cold and heinous...glad we don't have china's one child policy...your numbers would have trebled then. Thanks for visiting.

                                      Mitu Khurana said...

                                      I am a complainant under the P.N.D.T act as my husband and in-laws wanted me to abort my twin daughters after a sex determination test done fraudulently on me. I filed many complaints with NCW, DCW, health minister, C.D.M.O, etc and in fact... met the chairperson NCW personally too to help me . Till date I have not received any help from them. Not once they have tried to raise the issue. If they only want to speak in front of media, and not do anything when a woman who is trying to fight the menace of female feticide alone, than their words mean nothing.
                                      It was established very early in the case that the necessary records were not maintained in my case. It was also established very early in the case that the gynecologist had asked for only a ultrasound of only my Kidneys Ureter and bladder, but the radiologist had done a full fetal scan. But rather than taking action against the accused, every government official has tried to persuade me from withdrawing my complaints against the doctor, hospital, and my husband and in-laws. In-fact one government official asked me to give my husband a son if that's what he desires and not to spoil my life by filling a complaint under the P.N.D.T act. Since past 3 years I have been fighting alone to save my daughters and the fight is not only against my husband and in laws but also against these very officials who in front of media talk big, but otherwise harass any woman who dares to speak out
                                      I am still under a lot of pressures to withdraw my cases. I have spent endless hours meeting the ministers begging for their help. The only things which I have got are pressures to withdraw my cases. Every authority , even those who are speaking loudly in media has asked me to settle the case with my husband and either give him a son, or give him a divorce so that he can remarry and have sons.
                                      It has been established that I am the first woman in this country to file a case against my husband and in laws under the P.N.D.T act. The amount of pressures being put on me, many threats, delays meant to discourage me, attempts to harm my daughters, everything makes me think am i fighting this system which in front of media speaks so loudly that they want to save daughters , and behind the curtains force any woman who dares to speak out to withdraw.
                                      I am carrying on the fight till I can. I am continuing the fight till I have the last bit of strength in me, but please note, in case I withdraw the reason will be only one- NO ONE CAME FORWARD TO HELP ME. THE VERY PEOPLE WHO ARE SHOWING THEIR CONCERN FOR THE DECLINING SEX RATIOS ASKED ME TO WITHDRAW MY CASES AND SIT PEACEFULLY AT HOME. It is a very difficult fight for an alone woman- to fight the whole system. I tried for three years, and none of the so saying politicians, authorities or systems supposed to protect women have come to my aid. Rather they all stood up against me, with the accused.
                                      If I am fighting this case it is not because I gain anything out of this. I am fighting this only and only because I do not want my daughters to go through what ever I went through during my pregnancy.
                                      I Have put my entire life at stake to fight this case. I am not going to get a single penny from this case , only the satisfaction that perhaps I really did make a differance, that perhaps I am not like many of those in power, who just speak when the census comes out and otherwise do not care a hell.
                                      If I withdraw my complaints under all the pressures, it will not be my loss, but the loss of this system.... who could not give me justice.
                                      It will be the defeat of this nation who just did not care ....
                                      Please visit www.mitukhurana.wordpress.com

                                      Shivam Tiwari said...

                                      So glad to see men standing up for women.
                                      Great Job. I loved the details. And yes, we need to stand against it and spread the movement.

                                      Keep up.
                                      -Shivam Tiwari
                                      (thoughtdetonation.blogspot.com

                                      Rahul Bhandare said...

                                      Good research...the problem alas, persists...

                                      Payal Kapoor said...

                                      Hi , Very well written sir.
                                      I am doing a small research on this very issue and your blog is extremely useful. Would you be comfortable sharing links of all the sources of your secondary information.

                                      Thanks

                                      aswin said...

                                      HI GUYS AND GALS........SUPPORT THIS PAGE AND SHARE ITS ABOUT HUMAN AWARENESS..........http://www.facebook.com/pages/WOMEN-Giving-birth-to-a-girl-child-is-not-a-crime/248031728540537

                                      aswin said...

                                      HI GUYS AND GALS........SUPPORT THIS PAGE AND SHARE ITS ABOUT HUMAN AWARENESS..........http://www.facebook.com/pages/WOMEN-Giving-birth-to-a-girl-child-is-not-a-crime/248031728540537

                                      aswin said...

                                      HI GUYS AND GALS........SUPPORT THIS PAGE AND SHARE ITS ABOUT HUMAN AWARENESS..........http://www.facebook.com/pages/WOMEN-Giving-birth-to-a-girl-child-is-not-a-crime/248031728540537

                                      Pratibha Kanoo said...

                                      Aankh Ke Aansu Sukh Se Gaye,
                                      Fir Bhi Na Suni Kisi Ne Meri Pukaar,
                                      BITIYA Hoon Toh Kya ?
                                      Santaan Hoon Teri Hi,
                                      Maa-Baba Sunle Meri Guhaar.
                                      Aana Chahu Teri Kutiya Me,
                                      Pana Chahu Tere Pyaar.
                                      Bas Ek Mauka De De Mujhe,
                                      Waada Hai Ye Mera,
                                      Chala Kar Dikhaungi Tera Ghar Sansaar...

                                      ***[Click this link to read Full Poem http://hipratibha.blogspot.in/2012/04/zindagi-jeene-do-hume-bhi.html ]***

                                      Dr Prashant Khanna said...

                                      Dr Prashant Khanna (apeal to doctors community)
                                      i personally feel that we all sonologists &gynaecologists can reduce the rate of sex determination & girl baby abortions upto great extent only when we find a couple or family asking for sin, counsil them very nicely keeping in mind
                                      that u r saving one life (feel same as if an emergency patient landing up to ur hospital fighting for his life n u r helping him comeing out of it ). Trigger them emotionally by showing heart of baby beating in mother's womb & never never never comment on the sex of a baby.If we fail to council them then they will go to some other for the same.
                                      Doctors who do it for the sake of money will have to pay back ,they can make fool of system , law & community but they cant befool MOTHER NATURE she will take account of it.
                                      SAVE GIRL CHILD AND BECOME A SAVOR

                                      Meagan said...

                                      Wow. The blog and comments bring tears to my eyes. I am the adoptive mother of a "girl child" from India. My husband and I have two biological sons and we wanted a daughter so we adopted in India eleven years ago. Today we are the proud parents of a wonderful, feisty, and all-around awesome daughter. She is so full of life, just personality-plus, I can't imagine the world without her. I am so thankful to her brave birthmother for making sure her baby girl arrived safely in this world. We took over from there and the "girl child" is truly thriving. Indeed, it takes a village.

                                      vinanti said...

                                      i must congratulate you for such a nice work you've done. Its really very well written with all necessary information and data and one can clearly sense the message you wanna give.. Great job..

                                      Meenal Jhala said...

                                      I understand your passionate plea to save the girl child!

                                      Lighann Poteet said...

                                      There is lot of to say about saving Girl Child! How important is it? you can have idea and think if our mother was not there, how we would have seen this world? Same apply for our grand children, isn't it?

                                      Varun Mahapatra said...

                                      saving a child is necessary, otherwise one day there will be no girl present on the earth....

                                      Anonymous said...

                                      I m dr ranjan gautam working on it want sum good posters n photo which appeal to heart for billboards

                                      09997164999

                                      NAVEEN REDDY said...

                                      congrats....http://jobcounter4all.blogspot.in/2013/05/latest-save-girl-child-photos.html

                                      Chaitali B said...

                                      Every 12 seconds, a baby girl is aborted in India. That's about 7,000 girls killed every day, just because she is a girl child. Female foeticide has eliminated fifty millions of girls in last century in India alone.

                                      A monologue written in form of a poem, where the unborn girl child pleas to her mother, who she hopes will be her saviour. Pls read the poem on the link below.

                                      http://chaitalibhattacharjee7.wordpress.com/

                                      Neha Garg said...

                                      a very well composed article and i liked the way the facts are brought and the article is presented.
                                      Would love to read more.

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