Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thank God She Is Not Alive!

Sex ratio – a term which most people would have now become familiar with considering that the newspapers have been full of the sex ratio figures as revealed by the census. The child sex ratio is falling – that is the number of girls per 1000 boys in the 0-6 age group is decreasing. Now what, may I ask, is surprising about that? We as a society do not value our women so they are always the last to get medical help. And women themselves have been told for centuries that they must put everyone else before themselves so they do not even demand services. They have no economic value assigned to their work so one less or thousands less makes no difference to the GDP. Education too – they are lucky if they get it – even if they do, many end up sacrificing their potential for family or at the feet of the husband’s ego….. the usual refrain!

And there begins the cycle where the woman who has not felt valued by society and learnt not to value herself becomes society’s accomplice in eliminating the girl child. And so begins the downward spiral of the child sex ratio. Technology has made it easy and guilt-free. All you need to do is to find an unscrupulous doctor, get an ultrasound done, understand the unsaid message and decide. You could go a step further – chose the male embryo from the petri-dish. No bloodshed, no guilt, no evidence.

So far so good – but what defies logic is why prosperity and education is not making an impact. My grandmother believed that education would empower her daughters and she braved all opposition to send her daughters to school and university in the 1940s. She was sure that by the time her granddaughter grew up there would be no difference between a son and a daughter. Thank God she is not alive to see this day – how would I have explained this trend to her.

Nivedita Sinha

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