"The Hindu" dt. 16.04.2010 carried an interesting article. This article revealed that the sex-ratio in Punjab was totally skewed. The incidence of female foeticide is assuming alarming proportions. It is not only being practiced by the illiterate rural population, but what was more shocking was the fact that this is more prevalent and popular in the urban literate elite population.
Further, it was found that mothers who already had a female child were more likely to practice female foeticide than mothers who already had a male child.
This trend practically explodes the prevalent myths that this social evil was a result of parents' inability to meet dowry and marriage expenses in a society where marriages were an occasion to display opulence and were to be celebrated with great pomp and show. It is the perceived social disgrace of not having a male child that has prompted mothers to resort to female foeticide. Further, division of property which resulted from giving birth to a female child also contributes to the rise in this social evil.
Here are some revealing facts -
- Sex Ratio at Birth (considered to be a more accurate indicator of female foeticide) was 776 : 1000 in 2006 as compared to 798 : 1000 in 2001
- In urban areas it was found to be 761 : 1000 (as per National Family Health Survey)
- The ratio was found to significantly lower among educated mothers (Class X and above), it was found to be 683 : 1000 as compared to 869 : 1000 among illiterate mothers
- Sex Ratio of last birth (i. e., when first child is female) was 504 : 1000, whereas when the first child was male the ratio was a healthy 1003 : 1000
From the above facts, it is evident, that what is behind this evil practice, is not the economic background of the parents but it is the social stigma attached to the parents of a girl child, that is behind female foeticide. Moreover the article goes on to reveal that a whooping 70% of girls undergoing high school education who were surveyed revealed that they would not prefer to give birth to a female child. They were probably influenced by the plight of their own mothers and the discrimination meted out to them in their families and in the society in general.
This social evil is not a new phenomenon. It has been prevalent for hundreds of years. Previously also people used to abandon their girl-child on streets, garbage bins, public parks, etc. Now with the advance of science and technology, especially with the advent of diagnostic tests for the determination of sex of the unborn child, people are resorting to selective foeticide. In a way science and technology has been contributing to the murder of the girl-child.
If this trend is allowed to continue, then God alone knows what will become of our society.