Beti Bachao or save the girl child campaign is a big campaign for the present BJP government in India. The need for this campaign was shown by showing a gender ratio of 919 girls every 1000 boys, between the age group of 0-6 years.
Ministry of women and child development has recently suggested legalizing sex determination tests in India so that the status of the female foetus can be tracked and female foeticide (beti bachao can be successful) can be controlled (Click the HT image to see the complete news)–
The reason given for this step is–
“once gender of a foetus is determined, the authorities could maintain complete follow up in cases of female foetus in the womb”
So the point is that even though the ministry does not know that female foetus is killed, they are still creating a huge campaign to save girl child or Beti Bachao. So the basic assumption that female foetus is killed is under question because as of now – NO ONE IS SURE that Female Foetus is actually KILLED.
Then why is this BIG concern around female foeticide?.
It is said that India’s sex ratio between 0-6 years is 919 females per 1000 boys, and that is an indication that girls are killed in the womb and also after birth.
One more point to note is that while the ministry wants to stop killing the unborn female foetus by determining its gender, but do not want to stop killing the male foetus. Even though this is one way to improve gender ratio at birth but this also means that now an Indian ministry officially wants to kill the male foetus selectively. A ministry that is run by most of the male taxpayers’ money is openly conspiring to kill future men to improve gender ratio.
To understand the female foeticide issue, let us see the sex ratio at birth in different developed countries that rank topmost in the Human Development Index (HDI)–
Please note that perception is created in India that the sex ratio is 919 girls for every 1000 boys but it is when we consider the age group 0-6 years combined. If we consider the ratio at birth we see a better gender ratio.
Also, note that even in most developed countries the number of girls taking birth per 1000 boys born is less is by around 50.
HDR 2013 specifically states that –
“The natural sex ratio at birth is commonly assumed and empirically confirmed to be 105 male births to 100 female births” (Population Trends, Table 14, Page 197)
So the perception created that a number of female births need to be equal to that of male births is completely fake and a feminist propaganda.
When we look at the gender ratio between the age of 0-6 years we see that the ratio is declining. Let’s look at the gender analysis for 2001 and 2011 census data-
We find that even though this ratio (Number of men / Number of women) is decreasing over increasing age group that never concerns our government or political parties. This shows the systematic killing of men over their lifespan is not a matter of concern at all.
There is another notion that son preference forces parents to kill their daughters after birth. A 2014 UNICEF report on India’s Infant and child mortality shows that female children are more prone to death under the age of five compared to the male child.–
Even though WCD ministry is giving the reason that patriarchy and negligence to girls as the reason behind the higher rate of death of female children, the UNICEF report has a mention of the following factors for infant mortality–
- Urban / Rural residence
- Mother’s education
- Social group
- The standard of living index
- Effect of a group of state
Maternal and Demographic characteristics
- Mother’s age at childbirth
- Birth order
- Preceding birth interval
- Succeeding birth interval
- Child’s sex
- Assessment of high-risk birth
- Maternal nutrition status and birth weight
- Assistance at childbirth
- Access to safe drinking water
- Access to improved toilets
- Use of clean cooking fuel
Inequalities in child survival
- Health inequality
In all the above factors there is no parameter that shows that gender-specific neglect is a factor to kill infant girls but in almost all factors poverty and illiteracy comes as the major underlying reason for infant mortality in India.
The health inequality mentioned above is inequality in terms of poverty and access to better medical facilities and not inequality based on gender as some may think.
So from the above UNICEF data, we find that it is unfortunate but true that female children die more due to several reasons until 5 years of age and there is no specific neglect involved in that.
Son preference in India comes from various factors and this can also explain our gender ratio and reject female foeticide or infanticide theories by the WCD ministry. When a couple has a son as the first child, they do not go for a second child. On the contrary, many couples try for a son as the second child when they already have a daughter as the first child. This explains why in India we may have a number of boys even without any gender-specific killing and refutes the need for a specific campaign of Beti Bachao.
It is indeed a matter of concern that an Indian ministry is creating hatred against Indian men and boys in the name of Beti Bachao campaign. There is no doubt that India needs to improve its gender ratio but the low gender ratio compared to other nations does not mean girls are being killed.
By proposing to legalize sex determination tests, the WCD ministry is trying to create an environment of killing male babies selectively.
We have seen that in 2013 National Commission for Women (NCW) proposed to increase the legal age of abortion to 24 weeks from the current 22 weeks (news). If we look at both this news together we find that it is indeed the feminists who want to kill our babies, either unborn or born and they blame India’s patriarchy or Indian men for this.
This runs shivers down my spine that we are living in a completely male hating society where one Indian ministry is funded to kill the male babies selectively. This Beti Bachao campaign could be made better if this was towards delivering better healthcare facilities in villages and for better pre or postnatal care to poor mothers so that our children do not die after birth. The son preference issue could have been tackled by making daughters more responsible for old age parents. Without these positive gender-neutral steps, the Beti Bachao campaign is only a war against Indian boys and unborn male babies by some grown up and matured ladies funded by the union govt.
*For other campaign analysis click – here