Where Are All The Girls? 0 672

Imagine a world brimming with men, more men, and, you guessed it, men. While such a world would not endure for long for biological and social reasons, the fact that such a dystopia is plausible in the twenty-first century is a tragic reflection of deteriorating global values today.

Women, particularly in developing nations, are disappearing. Female infanticide is rising in sociopolitically provincial nations of western Asia. Females, if not illicitly aborted in the womb, are deliberately silenced shortly after birth. It is a reticent, yet blazing war against half of the globe’s population and the irreplaceable begetter of the child. Headlines in newspapers like these are normalized in rural Asian provinces:

Newborn Girl Found in Dustbin, Second in a Week”.

Hindustan Times 

Should the next revolutionary scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs be marginalized to the dustbin? Should any human, for that matter, be degraded to the dustbin?

Thousands of female babies are abandoned as above- some lucky to be found and nursed to health, but most are unfortunate victims of vicious sex selection practices that amount to millions of abortions yearly. Such selective practices wreak havoc on the balance of the sexes in developing India and China. While advocates of the practices deny these allegations, severely skewed male to female ratios in these nations are indicators that sex selection, despite its criminalization, is a trending practice.

Why exactly are such atrocities committed consistently?

Culture

Gender selection, most frequently, is the result of a toxic synthesis of economic poverty and narrow cultural mindsets. Women, in rural regions of developing nations, are often perceived as inferiors- simply household servants and procreators, while men are seen as economic and social backbones.

Moreover, in the predominant Chinese and Indian religions- Confucianism and Hinduism- males are favored as investments. The male is expected to secure the elderly, perform their funeral rites, and yield a dowry from his wife upon marriage- lending social prominence to the family.

Economics

Equally as contributive to sex selection are degenerating economies and disparities between the destitute and the wealthy. Strong motives to eradicate the female result from subservient earning power. Men, more often in developing nations, earn greater wages for the same labor, thereby ensuring consistent financial prosperity for the family.

 

Girls, upon marriage, leave their parental family. As a result, parents are deprived of resources that sons may readily provide, such as pensions and income. Females, confined to domestic duties both parentally and maritally, are perceived as economic drains on their providers.

The Dowry

But perhaps the most greatest economic contribution to sex selection is dowry. In rural Indian villages, a girl’s family frequently pays a dowry to the groom and his family, despite the lawlessness of the practice. A typical dowry will consist of precious gold jewelry and valuable household goods.

A typical Chinese bridal dowry

This payment undercuts significant portions of the father’s income; it is particularly detrimental when the family has multiple daughters. Often amounting to lavish expenses, the dowry compels laboring families to desire a male child.

But women are the future of tomorrow. Today, they may seem costly. But there will be no tomorrow if the woman is silenced. Her voice is powerful and confident, capable of engendering sociopolitical revolutions that will advance society. But if she is demeaned to the home, her skills are futile.

Pastoral provinces of developing nations troubled by a disparate male to female ratio must not further suppress the girl, but rather nourish her dreams and aspirations. Families must support independent daughters, for they will contribute immensely to cultural, social, and economical capital of the home and the nation.

It is time we all progress toward true equity- constructive intersection between man and woman, equal contributors to the home and community. It is time we save the girl child.

 

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Mili Dave is an avid feminist, traveler, and dreamer. She loves to juxtapose themes of remembrance and reality in her writing, and one day hopes to strike the elusive balance between the two. Mili is a staff contributor to Women's Republic Magazine and the Feminine Collective. When not writing, she is usually reading a mystery novel or absorbed in a classic Bollywood movie. She is currently working on her first novel.

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