Having worked on several projects that dealt with female infanticide, I thought I had seen and heard all kinds of stories. But this one still shocked me.
When I was part of a film that we made in the 90's, the focus was on two states - Rajasthan and Tamilnadu. In the first decade of this century, more and more people in the cities started killing girls. Highly urbanized states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana topped the list. What was surprising was that "educated" and economically well off communities were indulging in this practice.
I have always maintained that education does not make us broadminded, tolerant or sensitive. Most people who garner degrees continue to believe that they should have a male child. And there are enough people to find new theories why we still have female feoticide.
A new argument put forward in the NYTimes was this :
...female empowerment often seems to have led to more sex selection, not less. In many communities, she writes, “women use their increased autonomy to select for sons,” because male offspring bring higher social status.
The article then goes onto point out that skewed family planning programmes and access to abortion has led to an increase in female feoticide.
Easy access to abortion is leading to more girl child deaths ?
Female foeticide was happening decades before there were abortion clinics. If hospitals would not allow it then people would go to quacks or back alleys.
Female empowerment and access to abortion clinics are not responsible for skewed gender ratio. It is patriarchal and misogynistic cultures.
Instead of focusing on real issues, such arguments take the the sting away from the ongoing campaign to set the gender balance right.