Female Infanticide in India

Sunday 2 September 2018
India has globally become a force to reckon with and this makes each one of us very proud. But there still are some ugly truths that need our attention and it’s high time that we stop turning a deaf year towards them. Female infanticide is one such social issue.

Female infanticide is a heinous crime. In simple terms, it is a deliberate attempt to kill newborn female children within one year of their birth. It is a century old phenomena caused by social evils likes poverty, illiteracy, child marriage, dowry system, births to unmarried women, female genital mutilation, famine, maternal illness, sex-selective abortion, etc. These barbaric practices are still rampant in India, forcing people to commit social evils like female infanticide, female feticide, and sex-selective abortion.

In spite of being criminalised, it is one of the most under-reported crimes. Girl children in India often face various challenges from their childhood to their adulthood. On every step, girls face more rejection, discrimination, and fear than boys. This might not be evidently visible, but it is true. Sex ratio in India is rapidly decreasing. This is mostly to do with what is the ‘value’ of a girl child in India. There is a strong preference for male children than female children.

India as a society is insecure. Girls are not safe and girls from poverty-stricken families are even more vulnerable. They are often subjected to different kinds of harm, neglect, and violence in the form of abuse, harassment, domestic violence, rape, etc. Most Indians have stereotyped opinions about girls. They are socialised to believe that girls will eventually get married and go to another household and serve them. Therefore, girls are often considered a financial burden. Educating them is not deemed necessary and their opinions don’t matter. This is one of the major reasons for preferring a son over a daughter.

The need of the hour is to change such narrow mindsets of people. This will help in empowering females. The government of India is trying to come up with various schemes to reduce discrimination against females and to change the preconceived notions people have about them. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ is one such initiative that aims at providing survival, safety, and education to girl children.

Save the Children is a leading child rights non-government organisation (NGO). We work hand-in-hand with the government and the communities to ensure that every girl child gets a happy, protected, and safe childhood and a bright future.

Government alone cannot bring about the change we seek in our society. We all have to join hands in doing so. By supporting us you can not only avail tax benefits but also be heartened to know that you are one of the reasons that the girls in India are getting empowered. Educated and empowered girls will eventually grow up to be confident and independent women who will contribute towards our society and will be in a capacity to add millions to the Indian economy.