Dr Ritu Rathi, a GP from Morena. Although Ritu understands the enormous pressure that woman are under, she refuses to tell her patients whether they are expecting a girl or boy.
"Every day families come to me for ultrasound scans and the first question they ask is not about whether their baby is healthy, but whether it is a boy or a girl.
Discrimination against women is so historically ingrained in our society that it’s always exceptionally difficult to get parents to understand why I am refusing to tell them the sex of their unborn child. They will offer me any amount of money for sex determination tests in their desperation not to have any more daughters.
The problem is there are always other doctors who will do the test for them. Ultrasound is now so commonly misused for sex detection that it has become an accepted and convenient way of ensuring that unwanted girls aren’t born in the first place.
Even though many families are happy to have a girl if they already have a son, the social stigma of just having girls is enormous. Just today I was treating a woman who has two daughters already and she is suffering acute anxiety that her third child will be another girl. The abuse she will receive from her in-laws and her husband will make her life very difficult if she has another daughter.
There needs to be a serious step-change in attitudes. India might be developing economically, but in terms of our attitude to women, we’re not moving forward at all."