Life for Indian women is difficult and their difficulty begins even before their birth! The widespread prevalence of female foeticide in India is a shameful outcome of the social mores of India, which are badly skewed against the girl child.
According to a report published on the International Humanist and Ethical Union website, between 35 and 40 million girls and women are missing from the Indian population, courtesy selective abortion. The report also reveals the alarming statistic: in some parts of India, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 800:1000. This, in spite of pre-natal sex determination being illegal in India.
Such is the impact of female foeticide in India that even the United Nations has expressed serious concern about the situation. In a move to put a stop to the selective abortions of baby-girls, the Government of India was driven to announce monetary incentives last year.
Seems like a noble idea, but is it? Granted, the declining sex-ratio problem is assuming grave proportions. But I still don’t like the idea of offering monetary incentives for having baby girls. How can couples have girl children simply because of some external monetary incentives? What if a girl finds out that the only reason she was allowed to take birth was because her parents were offered money? How will she feel? I reckon, she’ll feel unwanted, unloved and worthless.
I feel that couples who actually give birth to a daughter only for the money do not deserve her. Besides, monetary incentives will work only for the economically backward. The problem of selective abortions cuts across all classes of the society, not just one. Surprising as it may seem, selective abortions are equally prevalent among the educated and the elite, who still seem to consider a male child their status symbol. These people are equally responsible for the skewed male-female sex ratio.
In my opinion, baby girls are their own incentives. They are little bundles of joy. They are warm sunlight. They are cool dewdrops. They are fairies and angels. They are pure bliss, a priceless gift of love from God, from nature. Aren’t these the real incentives for having daughters? And these incentives work for everyone, regardless of their caste, creed or socials status.
Modern Indian girls don’t grow up to be sisters, wives, and mothers alone. They become successful teachers, doctors, leaders, sportspersons, astronauts, authors, scientists, pilots, and police officers. Moreover, they continue to bring a fine balance to our world with their compassion, love, and their ability to nurture— qualities that are vital for the survival of our species.
The International Woman’s Day, observed on 8th March is a perfect occasion to pledge to dissolve the gender bias. We must do whatever we can to make others realise the real incentives for having baby girls.
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