India has globally become a force to reckon with. But there still are some ugly truths that need our attention and it’s high time that we stop turning a deaf year towards them. Female infanticide is one such social issue.
Female infanticide is a heinous crime. In simple terms, it is a deliberate attempt to kill newborn female children within one year of their birth. It is a century old phenomena caused by social evils likes poverty, illiteracy, child marriage, dowry system, births to unmarried women, female genital mutilation, famine, maternal illness, sex-selective abortion, etc. These barbaric practices are still rampant in India, forcing people to commit social evils like female infanticide, female feticide, and sex-selective abortion.
In spite of being criminalized, it is one of the most under-reported crimes. Girl children in India often face various challenges from their childhood to their adulthood. On every step, girls face more rejection, discrimination, and fear than boys. This might not be evidently visible, but it is true. Sex ratio in India is rapidly decreasing. This is mostly to do with what is the ‘value’ of a girl child in India. There is a strong preference for male children than female children.
India as a society is insecure. Girls are not safe and girls from poverty-stricken families are even more vulnerable. They are usually the subject of different kinds of harm, neglect, and violence in the form of abuse, harassment, domestic violence, rape, etc. Most Indians have stereotyped opinions about girls. They are socialized to believe that girls will eventually get married and go to another household and serve them. Therefore, girls are often considered a financial burden.
Likewise, a reputed news agency shared an account of a vulnerable girl, Majida. She married to a lorry driver living in the north Indian state at the age of 17. Barely a month into her marriage she was expected to act as a wife for two of her husband’s brothers. When she refused, her husband’s brothers raped her.
Yes! You read it right. Women forcefully take several husbands at once amid ‘wife shortage’ in the Baghpat district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Notably, the Baghpat district is considered to be at the core of India’s gender imbalance crisis that the United Nations warned in 2014 had reached “emergency proportions”.
The need of the hour is to change such narrow mindsets of people. This will help in empowering females. The government of India is trying to come up with various schemes to reduce discrimination against females and to change the preconceived notions people have about them. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ is one such initiative that aims at providing survival, safety, and education to girl children.