The Truth: Females are deprived of life
In 3rd world countries such as India, the male to female ratio is a critical issue. Females are viewed as second-rate citizens and are looked down upon. Last year, more than 200 girls were given the opportunity to rename themselves whose names meant “unwanted” in Hindi. Imagine that. Your own family calling you unwanted from the day you are born. What would this do to your self confidence? How depressing is that! Countless females live with this dilemma each day of their lives.
To many Indians, in both the poverty-stricken and affluent communities, a son is similar to a godsend. It’s comparable to a secure retirement plan, while daughters require a dowry (illegal, yet not enforced in India). During my trip to India, I was planning on visiting the Unique Home for Girls in Jalandhar to set up a volunteering opportunity for CSU’s. Unfortunately, due to a family emergency I had to return to the States in just 5 days. I plan on making arrangements for this and a documentary to awareness on my next trip (stay tuned…)
However, while I was there, I noticed — boys and men. EVERYWHERE. Not too many girls, even in and around the shops! Punjab has one of the worst male to female ratios, with some entire villages consisting of only men. Even when we visited shops, clothing shops, or any kind, men were working. Herds and flocks of men constantly staring, with no hesitation–even if you looked completely scrub in sweats with Oreos stuck in your teeth! It was quite disturbing.
Here are some quick facts about the issue (Reference: Nimerta Sandhu, UC Berkeley, CA):
-Since 1980, an estimated 40 million women are ‘missing,’ by way of abortion, neglect or murder. 7,000 female fetuses are aborted every day according to the U.N.–solely because they are girls. One dowry death is reported every 77 minutes. Countless others are never known.
-As per the latest Census in the year 2011, the total female sex ratio in India is 940 per 1000 males. Varying among states in India, some go as low as barely over 600.
-Examining the sex ratios at birth of second child makes it evident that son preference is affecting family-building strategies. The sex ratio of last births (number of females born per 1,000 males when the first child is a female ) ranges from a low of 504 in Punjab, to 540 in Haryana, and 572 in Himachal. –> Why? The expected duty of an Indian wife is to be respectful and obedient. Life of a girl compared to the life of a boy is dramatically different.
-Girls are often held back and do not have a chance to prove themselves. Often, girls are not given credit for their achievements while a male achieving less academically may be praised more than a girl. Boys are not punished as badly in some families.
-Having more access to cheaper technology, e.g. ultrasound machines, is making it easier abort female fetuses — especially in wealthier communities where they are able to spend more money on medical procedures.
“She was thrown in the garbage dump outside the village for dogs that ate her. Her only fault — she was the fourth girl born in a poor family,” said Harshinder Kaur, pediatric doctor here, recalling the first time she witnessed discrimination against female infants in Punjab’s rural side. “Over a decade ago, I couldn’t save that infant and ever since I try to speak for the girls who never lived,” said Dr. Kaur.
“While in India, one of our old family friends visited us at home. This is, by all means, an elite family with a lot of money and influence. As all conversations with Indians, this one also turned about us not having children. For one they (OK most of them) just can’t comprehend the idea of one’s choice to not to have any children, but this lady took it one step further. She suggested to my wife that she could give her a pill to ensure that we would only have a son since my only brother has two daughters. But this isn’t even the best part…. get ready for this…..she said this in front of her daughter who is my age and even better yet, also in front of her teenage granddaughter!!! Don’t ask me I’m also as dumbfounded as you are. This was one of those situations when I didn’t know how to even answer to her, where would I even begin while I was still trying to figure at how many levels she was offensive. But to her, she was probably just trying to help or something.”_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Women and the environment are the essence of our existence. It is our responsibility to assure both are protected and healthy, therefore, we must raise awareness, make the right decisions, and help other make the right decisions — EDUCATE each other!
-Celebrate a daughter’s birth
-Don’t give dowry
Find out how you can help and make a difference!
Here are some external links/videos you can check out if you are interested!
Nimerta Sandhu’s Sources: