Srinagar, India In India, Pakistan and China sexism starts early. Most Parents desire to have boys. As a consequence sex selective abortion became widespread over the last years. The underlying reason is Patriarchy.
In Kashmir, sexism starts at birth itself. The scenes usually witnessed in hospitals when a girl is born are: Women mourning, men bowing down their heads in order to hide their tears or sometimes giving angry looks and reactions, grandmothers beating their chests, grandfathers cursing... The mourning is the welcome song, which is sung almost every time when a GIRL is born. And this marks the start of hardships and agonies that a girl has to suffer throughout her life. In our neighbouring societies of India and Pakistan this mourning tendency is even worse and female infanticide is common.
India, Pakistan and China are worst hit by female infanticide. Many couples in these regions desire to have sons because they traditionally carry on the family name and provide support and security to their aging parents later in life. On the opposing trend to it, a daughter is expected to leave her parents upon marriage to join and care for her husband’s family. In these societies, patriarchy has always given rise to inequality against women.
In 2001, the census in India counted 941 girls for every 1000 boys. The last census for India held in 2011 put the figure at a lower rate. In 2011 the Jammu and Kashmir area counted only 859 girls for every 1000 boys, and the Indian national average for girl children was even lower, at 914. On the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child in 2012, the government of India said that while the decade saw an overall drop in share of children to total population, nearly three million girls, one million more than boys, are “missing” in 2011 compared to 2001.
Sex-selective abortions became widespread
After abortion was legalized in India in 1971, and technologies to diagnose the sex of the fetus became widely available, the practice of sex-selective abortions became widespread,” says research associate Arindam Nandi from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington, D.C. along with Anil Deolalikary from the University of California in their new April 2011 report, “Does a Legal Ban on Sex-Selective Abortions Improve Child Sex Ratios?”
Pakistan too is hit by menace of female infanticide. According to one estimate from the end of 20th century, about 3.1 million girls are missing in Pakistan. Many attribute this to infanticide.
Most unequal sex ratios in the world
A study says that the proportion of men and women in Pakistan is 111 men per 100 women. This makes it one of the most unequal and unusual sex ratios in the world. Only two other countries in the world have similar inverse sex ratios — India and China. Like Pakistan, they too have a marked preference for sons, considered a prime reason for high population growth.
China too portrays a dismal picture. According to the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the demographic shortfall of female babies who have died for gender related issues is in the same range as the 191 million estimated dead accounting for all conflicts in the twentieth century.
As a result of female infanticide and sex-selective abortion combined, there are an estimated 30–40 million more men than women in China today.
This female infanticide which has given rise to female deficit in India, Pakistan and china is expected to generate a wide range of adverse social, political, and economic consequences for society.
Patriarchy has resulted in sexism and female infanticide
The underlying reason behind this development is patriarchy. Patriarchy has worked in a manner that has dehumanized souls and even worked out a paradigm that has pitted women against women. The tight grip of patriarchy has resulted in sexism, female infanticide and other forms of gender violence. Its blind manifestations have also resulted in religious fanaticism and cruel nationalism.
“Four men gang-rape and murder a young working woman; father rapes minor daughter; teenage girl raped by neighbour; acid thrown by husband on wife leads to her death; infant found raped and subsequently murdered.” These and some other painful headlines and news items have become a daily affair in India and other societies that are dominated by evil notions of patriarchy.