Female foeticide is the act of aborting a fetus because it is female. This is a major social problem in India. Social discrimination against women and a preference for sons have been promoted.
It has been six long decades since India gained independence but many Indians are still trapped in age-old traditional beliefs. Here, ‘old beliefs’ imply the mindset of people who still find themselves in the trap of girl-boy inequality. The ‘liberal’ Indian society has failed to transform the other orthodox India. No doubt India is advancing at a fast pace in the field of science and technology, and also in aping of the western culture, but if we look at the grass root level, the picture is not so rosy; it is rather a dark, especially when it comes to how we treat the fairer sex.
According to the decennial Indian census, the sex ratio in the 0-6 age group in India went from 104.0 males per 100 females in 1981, to 105.8 in 1991, to 107.8 in 2001, to 109.4 in 2011. The ratio is significantly higher in certain states such as Punjab and Haryana (126.1 and 122.0, as of 2001)
The status of females in India aptly symbolizes India’s status of being a developing nation – miles away from becoming a developed state. Of course, India deserves to be in this list because here, in this 21st century, the girl child continues to be murdered before she is born. Female foeticide is still prevalent in the Indian society, in fact, it has been a practice for hundreds of years.
Many families put pressure on women to give birth to boy so that he can take family’s name forward, light the funeral pyre and be the bread earner of the family. But these days, are girls less competent than boys? Just look at the results of Board exams or any other competitive exams, girls mostly outshine boys. Women empowerment has led to inundation of females excelling in the corporate world, engineering and medical professions.
The struggle for a girl child starts the day her existence is known in her mother’s womb. The fear and struggle to survive swallow most of the girl’s life even if she is ‘allowed’ to live in this cruel world.
More shocking is the fact that the sinful crime of female foeticide is not only common in rural areas where social discrimination against women, lack of proper education etc. can be considered as reasons behind carrying out such acts, but also the ultra modern, so-called ‘educated’ people living in urban areas and metropolitan cities who are a step ahead in killing the girl child in the womb.
Narrow-minded people do not mind murdering their unborn daughters for the fear of giving huge amounts of dowry at the time of her marriage. Such people, whenever they discover they are going to have a girl child (through illegal sex selection tests), get the foetus aborted. Else they would continue to reproduce till they get a male heir. When price rise is already taking a toll on the standard of living, is it necessary to go in for more than two children irrespective of their gender?
(F. Y.D. Pharm.)