29 Jun 2011

Turning Girls into Boys

Last Sunday, HT wrote about a new trend in Indore where parents are turning their girl child into a boy. Yes you read that right. A sex change. When you are too young to ask what the hell is happening to you. Just because they want a boy.

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.

1 comment:

manythoughts said...

I read your post a few days ago, but was so horrified that didn't know what to say. To think that parents can do this to their own newborns defies everything being a parent stands for. It never ceases to amaze me that those who endorse female feticide/infanticide can so blatantly ignore the basic biological truths about reproduction of the human species. But I suppose that's yet another instance of our shortsightedness.