Sunday, July 25, 2021
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Our Missing Daughters

In India, the population of girls has been decreasing. We need to understand that girls are our fortune. Socio-economic empowerment of women is essential for making informed decisions and for a change of the mind sets. A healthy male-female ratio is a social need. A stronger law to deal with those resorting to sex-selective abortions needs to be enacted. The reasons for a high number of incidence of female foeticide in India include a deep rooted traditional son preference, continued practice of dowry and concern for the safety of the girl child and exploitation and abuse of women and girl children. In order to curb female foeticide and improve the sex ratio, a strong a multi-pronged strategy that includes legislative measures, advocacy, awareness generation and programs for the socio-economic empowerment of women is needed. There’s a huge deficit of women because families fear the cost of raising a daughter. It is a commonly practiced tradition (despite being outlawed) that the bride’s family pays a large sum of money to the groom’s family at the wedding. Plus, women are not seen as breadwinners and or allowed to inherit wealth like men in some states. Sex-selection is now spreading to rural areas as the technology gets cheaper and enforcement of the law remains ineffectual. Media exposes of doctors providing sex-selection services and offering to abort girls are commonplace, but they have little overall impact because demand is too strong.Despite rising levels of education, gender awareness, and stringent pro-women laws, change has been slow, and violence against women is increasing.Visionary leadership, stringent implementation of laws and a united effort to discourage dowry are the need of the hour. Time has now come to formulate an action plan to launch a campaign to change the mindset of people and to promote female child birth rate.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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