Gendercide - Why Girls in India Are Being Killed

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Gendercide

Why girls in India are being killed

Traditions and cultural beliefs in India are resulting in the slaughter of girls, often before they are even born. According to the official statistics, in the past 20 years ten million female foetuses have been aborted, with the boy to girl ratio now being at about 1000 to 900. Although determining a foetus’s sex is illegal, let alone abortion or even the killing of a young girl, several clinics across the country surreptitiously agree to reveal the sex of the foetus or terminate the pregnancy for a price. In the following few paragraphs I would like to find reasons for the prevalence of this horrific practice and investigate why a nation doesn’t want its daughters.

In India, with a population of 1.2 billion, daughters are still seen as a burden on their families and finances. In traditional Indian families, the bride goes to live in the groom’s house and is expected to look after all the needs of her in-laws. So couples prefer having male children so they will bring home a wife to look after them in their old age.

Also, a girl’s family can end up deep in dept paying a dowry to secure her marriage, not to mention arranging for all the wedding expenses and purchasing the gold jewellery she is expected to wear on her wedding day. Although outlawed in India since the early sixties, the dowry system is still common and takes different forms where some families give away money and gold, while others give land, motor vehicles and sometimes even fully furnished houses. This contributes to the cultural preference for boys.

Even India’s economic progress has not necessarily changed traditions of gender discrimination, as many cases from upper-middle class and well-to-do families prove. Even when a well educated Indian woman decides not to have a gender-determining-scan and insists on keeping the child, whatever the sex might be, she will often end up fighting for her rights before her husband and her...
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