Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females.’ These practices arise in areas where cultural norms value male children over female children.
Facts on female Infanticide
- India is the only large country in the world where more girl babies die than boy babies. The gender differential in child survival is currently 11 per cent.
- Between 2013 and 2017, about 460,000 girls in India were missing’ at birth each year. According to one analysis, gender-biased sex selection accounts for about two-thirds of the total missing girls, and post-birth female mortality accounts for about one-third. (The State of World Population 2020)
- The United Nations says an estimated 2,000 unborn girls are illegally aborted every day in India.
- Statistics reflect community attitudes with fewer hospital admissions for girls than boys, showing that parents sometimes give less attention to girl newborns. In 2017 alone 150,000 fewer girls were admitted to SNCUs than boys.
Increasing female foeticide in India could spark a demographic crisis where fewer women in society will result in a rise in sexual violence and child abuse as well as wife-sharing, the United Nations warned. This in turn will deteriorate the social value system and can cause crisis situation.
However this anti-female bias is by no means limited to poor families. Much of the discrimination is to do with cultural beliefs and social norms. These norms themselves must be challenged if this practice is to stop.
The practice of female de-selection in India could be attributed to socio-economic reasons. Studies in India have indicated three factors of female de-selection in India, which are economic utility, sociocultural utility, and religious functions.
- The factor as to economic utility is that studies indicate that sons are more likely than daughters to provide family farm labor or provide in or for a family business, earn wages, and give old-age support for parents.
- Upon marriage, a son makes a daughter-in-law an addition and asset to the family providing additional assistance in household work and brings an economic reward through dowry payments, while daughters get married off and merit an economic penalty through dowry charges.
- The sociocultural utility factor of female de-selection is that, as in China, in India's patrilineal and patriarchal system of families is that having at least one son is mandatory in order to continue the familial line, and many sons constitute additional status to families.
- The final factor of female de-selection is the religious functions that only sons are allowed to provide, based on Hindu tradition, which mandate that sons are mandatory in order to kindle the funeral pyre of their late parents and to assist in the soul salvation
Steps initiated by Government
The government has initiated many steps and to bring an end to this social evil, and to bring a change in the attitudes of the people in society. It is in this direction that many laws, Acts and schemes have been initiated, such as the following areas :
- The Laws favouring Girl Education
- The Laws favouring Women's right
- The Laws favouring Equal Property Share for a daughter
- Other schemes for girl child
Source: Portal Content Team