18 June 2008
India’s daughters are disappearing. New research by ActionAid and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) shows that the number of girls born and surviving in northern India compared to boys falls far short of normal expectations, and continues to slide.
Deeply entrenched discrimination against women has led to the survival rates of girls hitting an all-time low. With parts of society regarding girls as little more than economic and social burdens, families are going to extreme lengths to avoid having daughters.
ActionAid and IDRC’s research reveals that, despite policies to address girls’ rights and public information campaigns, sex-selective abortion and
neglect are on the increase. In four of the five sites surveyed, the proportion of girls to boys has declined even further since 2001.
Although prenatal sex detection and sex-selective abortion is illegal, the law is not being enforced. Doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners are routinely violating the ban, performing abortions of female foetuses and benefiting financially.
It is estimated that around 10 million female foetuses may have been
aborted in India over the last two decades.
photo : ©Sanjit Das/ActionAid