Female Foeticide – Death in the Womb!
“It’s a girl.” These three words still constitute the deadliest words for parents expecting a child in India. In this age of rapid technological development, India is facing a pressing issue that needs to be addressed at once- Female Foeticide in India.
Concept of Female Foeticide in India
A large section of the Indian society still caught up in the web of orthodox thoughts commit this socially, ethically and legally unacceptable and brutal act of female foeticide. As if indignity and inequality were not the only social evils the daughters of this country were fighting, their basic human right is taken away even before they are born.
Female Foeticide in India is the horrific practice of selective elimination or abortion of the female foetus within the womb of the mother on the ground that it is a female. It is the termination of female child’s life or murdering the baby after detecting the gender through medical tests.
Female Foeticide Statistics in India
Parents see girl child as a burden and prefer a male child for reasons like un-affordability of dowry, illiteracy, pressure from in-laws, social discrimination’s and atrocities against women, etc. The census of 2011 indicated that the child sex ratio in India was 933 females to 1000 males.
The fetal sex determination and sex selective abortion have developed into Rs. 1000 crore industry in India.
The above mentioned table from 2011 Census Data by the Ministry of Home Affairs indicates the skewed sex ratio in the state of Haryana which is also one of the richest states in India. There are just 861 females for 1000 males which signals the alarming situation in Haryana. With fewer girls, the eligible Jatt boys travel thousands of kilometers to find themselves a bride. Since 1991, 80% of the districts in states of Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh have recorded a declining sex ratio. Experts say that there will be further reduction in the sex ratio all over the country by the next census in 2022. To reach the bottom of this menace we will have to look at the reasons for female foeticide. Looking closely at the reasons why female foeticide is becoming a daily phenomenon, they are wider than the preference for a male child and here are few of them.
Major Reasons for Female Foeticide in India
- Education: It is sad that the socially backward class see son as the bread earner of the family. Some consider it as a waste of money to get the girl child educated as she is going to get married and go to another family eventually.
- Dowry System: The birth of the girl child is seen as a tragedy because the parents will have to pay dowry, a social evil that is still rampant in India.
- Gender Discrimination: Ill-treatment and bias against females are rooted deeply in the cultural, economic and religious system of India. Female foeticide in India is a result of the girl being an unwanted element in the society.
- Medical Factor: Illegal sex determination and termination of pregnancies have turned into a reality through legalization of abortion in India. Professionals are gladly ready to help due to the greed of money and aggravate female foeticide.
It is ironical to note that in a country where women are worshiped, the traditional thoughts are causing merciless deaths of our daughters even before they have the opportunity to live. More than one million females are being killed in a year in India. This along with the declining sex ratio is an increasing concern with tragic consequences listed below.
Consequences of Female Foeticide in India
- Population Decline and Decline in Sex Ratio: The ratio of girls to boys is declining in India and resulting in skewed sex ratio. This has negative consequences on productivity, fertility ratios and our nation as a whole.
- Women Trafficking: The steep decline in the number of girls is making them scarce and it results in young girls being married and sold, illegal trafficking of young girls and prostitution.
- Increase in Rape, Assault and Maternal Death: The existing few females have to deal with male dominance and abuse against them in the society. Not being given equal status and respect, they have to fight against increasing societal odds like rape, assault, maternal death, dowry death, etc.
There are a number of legislation’s and schemes like Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 and “Beti Bachao” which help curb female foeticide in India. But this deep rooted problem needs conscious efforts by us to change the backward mindset of the people and obnoxious discrimination against women. How is the development of the country possible when females are not even given the right to live? Implementation of harsh laws along with a sweeping change in the mentality of the people to see women as nation’s assets are some major steps towards eradicating female foeticide in India. It is not too much to ask to let an innocent child live and see the world, fighting all the odds and emerging as a strong individual.