Female Infanticide – Demographic Boon Or Catastrophic Blow To Minority Women
Save The Girl is a powerful documentary film directed by Avindy S. Anand. It explores a depressing truth that almost every girl in the world is going to face at some point in her life – she will grow up, marry and get married. The question then is – “Why do girls leave education when they have the power to choose their partners?” The answer lies in education, but that is not why most girls do not complete their secondary and even their tertiary education.
We heard some shocking stories in Rajasthan, a state from north-western India, where a few Royal dynasties never gave birth to any female child. This might be an important reason for the declining social status in the country and the whole world. The main theme of this documentary is the future of a young woman in rural India who is left with no choice but to drop out of school and marry a much older man. She does so to spite her parents. The reason why Save The Girl is so effective is because we are talking about a girl who actually makes up her mind to go ahead with her parents’ choice even though she is emotionally reluctant about it.
Let us now examine why gender equality in education is not achieved in rural India. Our first stop is the National Board for Accreditation of Secondary School Education (NBASE) in India which is responsible for accreditation of educational institutions in the country. It has certified only a small number of schools as having high quality academic policies. The sad part is that nearly all the schools which received certification were either established less than fifteen years ago or had become completely corrupt. We have seen corruption at all levels and the ratio of male students to female students has been deteriorating steadily.
Another factor that contributes to the failure of gender ratio in education is the dowry system. Dowry is the payment made by the bride’s family to the groom’s family following the marriage. Dowry is often the deciding factor for whether a girl child is allowed to continue with her education. This has been used as a weapon by the boy’s families to dominate the girl child in the society. As a result, there are still very few girls in universities in India despite the fact that the educational facilities have been made available at affordable rates. The reason for this is the insensitive attitude of the higher castes against the weaker sections of the society.
The increasing practice of female infanticide has also led to the situation where there are more female children being born out of wedlock than males. Although this practice is restricted in most of the western countries, in India too it is rampant. It is estimated that every eighth girl child is conceived in illegal female infanticide in the country.
Besides the above two evils, there are other equally prevalent problems facing the developing countries. Less than twenty percent of the engineers in India are women. Women hold less than twenty percent of the seats in the lower level local authority positions. There are very less number of women running business establishments.
In rural areas the girl child is not given primary education. Most of the girls are sent away from the schools at an early age and are married off at an early age too. In big cities, the girl child is subjected to extensive alcohol and drug abuse which causes her health problems. All this has been done in disregard of the girl child’s right to survive and participate in an equal social status as that of the boys. As a result, today the girl child is largely dependent on her parents or relatives for financial support and this has resulted in social disintegration and a rapid rise in crime rate in urban areas as well.
The situation is such that even the educated girl child is trapped in the domestic house by her parents or in other arrangements. This has led to increasing female infanticide both in urban and rural India. The rising crime rate and lack of education has created a very tense and dangerous situation in India which is being aggravated by the mere existence of girl children in the country. All the politicians and religious leaders must immediately come out and provide help to the girl children and protect them from every form of female infanticide till it is totally eradicated from the Indian society.