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Angel
 
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Quote Angel Replybullet Topic: India’s ’girl deficit’ deepest among educ
    Posted: 14 January 2006 at 10:21pm
India's 'girl deficit' deepest among educated

By Scott Baldauf, Staff writer of The Christian Science MonitorFri Jan 13, 3:00 AM ET

Banned by Indian law for more than a decade, the practice of prenatal selection and selective abortion remains a common practice in India, claiming up to half a million female children each year, according to a recent study by the British medical journal, The Lancet.

The use of ultrasound equipment to determine the sex of an unborn child - introduced to India in 1979 - has now spread to every district in the country. The study found it played a crucial role in thetermination of an estimated 10 million female fetuses in the two decades leading up to 1998, and 5 million since 1994, the year the practice was banned. Few doctors in regular clinics offer the service openly, but activists estimate that sex-selection is a $100 million business in India, largely through mobile sex-selection clinics that can drive into almost any village or neighborhood.

The practice is common among all religious groups - Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, and Christians - but appears to be most common among educated women, a fact that befuddles public health officials and women's rights activists alike.

"More educated women have more access to technology, they are more privileged, and most educated families have the least number of children," says Sabu George, a researcher with the Center for Women's Development Studies in New Delhi, who did not participate in the study. "This is not just India. Everywhere in the world, smaller families come at the expense of girls."

Like China, India has encouraged smaller families through a mixture of financial incentives and campaigns calling for two children at most. Faced with such pressure, many families, rich and poor alike, are turning to prenatal selection to ensure that they receive a son. It's a problem with many potential causes - from social traditions to the economic burden of dowries - but one that could have strong social repercussions for generations to come.

The Lancet survey, conducted by Prabhat Jha of St. Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto and Rajesh Kumar of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Research in Chandigarh, India, looked at government data collected from a 1998 sample of Indian families in all the districts of the country. From this data, they concluded that 1 out of every 25 female fetuses is aborted, roughly 500,000 per year.

Many doctors, including the Indian Medical Association, dispute the findings of the report, saying that the number of female feticides is closer to 250,000 per year. They note that the data sample used by The Lancet study precedes a 2001 Supreme Court decision outlawing the use of ultrasounds to check for girls. But activists note that the law is largely unenforced.

"If there were half a million feticides a year," S.C. Gulati of the Delhi Institute of Economic Growth told the Indian news channel IBN, "the sex ratio would have been very skewed indeed."

Yet the sex ratio is skewed. According to the official Indian Census of 2001, there were 927 girl babies for every 1,000 boy babies, nationwide. The problem is worst in the northwestern states of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, and Gujarat, where the ratio is less than 900 girls for every 1,000 boys.

Against common expectations, female feticide is not a crime of India's backward masses. Instead, it is most common among India's elite, who can afford multiple trips to an ultrasound clinic, and the hushed-up abortion of an unwanted girl. In the prosperous farming district of Kurukshetra, for instance, there are only 770 girl babies for every 1,000 boys. In the high-rent Southwest neighborhoods of New Delhi, the number of girl babies is 845 per 1,000 boys.

Some activists say it is wrong to blame Indian society for the incidents of female feticide. The main cause for the "girl deficit," they say, is the arrival of ultrasound technology, and the entrepreneurial spirit of Indian doctors.

"This is not a cultural thing," says Donna Fernandez, director of Vimochana, a women's rights group based in Bangalore. "This is much more of an economic and political issue. It has got a lot to do with the globalization of technology. It's about the commodification of choices."

Cultures don't change overnight, of course, so it's no wonder that activists are focusing attention on regulating the technology that makes feticide possible, the ultrasound. By law, the government can regulate - but not deny - the use of prenatal diagnostic techniques for the purposes of detecting birth defects, but not gender itself. Activists say that while most doctor's offices and clinics have signboards saying that they cannot disclose the gender of a child, it is rare to see a doctor prosecuted if he does so.

Karuna Bishnoi, spokeswoman for UNICEF in Delhi, says it shouldn't come as a surprise that educated women are among the most likely to use prenatal sex determination.

"I personally believe this as a failure of society, not a failure of women," says Ms. Bishnoi. "Women who choose this technique may be victims of discrimination themselves, and they may not be the decisionmakers. Nobody can deny that the status of women is very low in India. There is no quick fix to this."

The cultural practice of giving a dowry to the groom's family puts a tremendous financial burden on a bride's family. The cost of not paying a larger dowry can be even higher. In the high-tech city of Bangalore, activists report that it is still common for women to be burned alive by husbands who expected a larger dowry.

While most of India's religions condemn discrimination against women, there are a few temples in the state of Punjab that promise to help bring fewer women into existence. At the Bir Baba Mandir in Amritsar, couples eat flatbread and onions to ensure a boy child.

As a researcher for 20 years on female feticide, conducting field research in the highly educated state of Tamil Nadu, Sabu George says he has some qualms about The Lancet study. In particular, he feels that taking the figures from one year and projecting them backward 20 years just doesn't square with the facts on the ground.

But while he believes The Lancet study may have exaggerated the number of female abortions in the past 20 years, it also might underestimate the exponential growth of female feticide into the futures.

"This is a much larger problem in the future," he says. "Without strong pressure by civil society groups, we'll be seeing 1 million female feticides every year within five years time, definitely."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20060113/ts_csm/ogirlgap

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Angela
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Quote Angela Replybullet Posted: 15 January 2006 at 9:59am

This is more promient among Hindu families.  Where there is same in daughters.  I would think most Muslims would be appaulled by this situation. 

Daughters require dowrys be paid to the husband, they don't stay with their family, they become virtual slaves to their inlaws.  Sons stay and take care of their parents, then bring dowries into the family and wives to help around the house. 

 

 

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Quote candor Replybullet Posted: 29 January 2006 at 2:09am
Originally posted by Angela

This is more promient among Hindu families.  Where there is same in daughters.  I would think most Muslims would be appaulled by this situation.

Not really. This custom is so deep-rooted, religion has little or no influence on it. Though regionwise, it is not uniformly prevalent throughout India. For example, in the state of Bengal and North-Eastern states it is virtually non-existent. 

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Quote kim! Replybullet Posted: 16 April 2006 at 2:31am
http://www.theage.com.au/news/womenshealth/new-light-on-fema le-count/2006/04/12/1144521401598.html


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Mishmish
 
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Quote Mishmish Replybullet Posted: 16 April 2006 at 9:42am

"When the female (infant) buried alive is questioned-

For what crime she was killed.."    (at-Takwer 8-9)

It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, what is essential is invisible to the eye. (The Little Prince)
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Quote ak_m_f Replybullet Posted: 16 April 2006 at 10:08am

Hindus drown baby girls in tub of milk.

I read it in some newspaper.
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Quote peacemaker Replybullet Posted: 16 April 2006 at 5:18pm

Assalamu Alaikum!

"Hindus drown baby girls in tub of milk.

I read it in some newspaper
."

I don't know about this aspect, but of course, female infanticide is very common in that society. Very sad indeed. It is a reminder as to how people in Makkah prior to Qur'anic revelations used to bury their daughters alive upon their birth. It is not exactly that is happening in India, but it is very similar in nature, and can be termed, in fact, equivalent due to scientific advancement between then and now.

Peace


 

Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
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kim!
 
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Quote kim! Replybullet Posted: 17 April 2006 at 2:16am
This is the BEST thing ever:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C04%5C 03%5Cstory_3-4-2006_pg4_15

This particular society has been FORCED by their own ridiculous behaviour to VALUE GIRLS HIGHLY! 

"
Monday, April 03, 2006 E-Mail this article to a friend Printer Friendly Version

Lack of women turns tables on India’s suitable boys

MUMBAI: Long, twirling moustaches and bejewelled daggers are no longer enough for a man seeking to marry in India’s desert state of Rajasthan, long considered a land of fearless warriors. But if he is lucky enough to have a sister, he can relax, a newspaper report said on Sunday. A declining sex ratio in the state is prompting a girl’s parents to spurn offers of marriage from men unless the potential groom’s family also has a marriageable daughter for their son, the Sunday Express said. “Around 30 percent of the marriages in the past year in Shekhawati region of Rajasthan were fixed on this swap system,” local lawmaker Rajendra Chauhan said. The sex ratio in many of Rajasthan’s districts has dropped to 922 girls for every 1,000 boys, according to the last census. In one or two villages, it has plummeted to less than 500, the paper reported. The joint engagement pact, called “aata-saata”, or the “double-couple plan”, has emerged as young women find themselves much in demand in a state where the traditional preference, as in much of India, has been for sons. Heavily skewed sex ratios have emerged in several parts of India as couples use ultra-sound technology to achieve their desire for a baby son despite such tests being illegal. A joint study carried out by researchers in India and Canada recently suggested that half-a-million unborn girls may be aborted in India every year. But now the absence of girls is changing village dynamics, the newspaper said. “There are no girls. If there is one in a house, the father is like a king. He can demand anything,” said Prahland Singh, the head of Bhorki village in Rajasthan. He said that around 30 families had carried out marriages under the swap system in the village of 3,000 people in the last two years. The report said that dowry, where traditionally a bride’s father had to bestow riches on a groom to secure a marriage, has completely disappeared from many parts of the state. Rather the groom’s families are now offering to bear the cost of finding a suitable bride for their sons. Reuters"

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