The 50 Million Missing Campaign
For a few years now, I’ve been tracking the practice of female feticide in rural India. I’ve always been incredibly interested in Indian culture- I even speak a little bit of Hindi (not well) and follow the Indian feminist movement, which contrary to many people’s beliefs, is a strong one.
However, the problem of female feticide persists, and according to the UN this problem is getting worse.
Female feticide is the act of aborting female fetuses solely because of the culture’s adamant preference for boys. The most common reasons for this male preference are because of the high price of dowries and overall opinion that women are burdens. The fact that men can inherit property and carry on the family name only adds to the misogyny.
The act is illegal, and yet because of the lack of enforcement, the United Nations estimates that around 2,000 unborn girls are still illegally aborted every day in India, and in the past 20 years it’s estimated that between 10-50 million girls have been murdered by their parents because of their gender.
I used to think that this was a problem for only the obvious reasons: the blatant sexist violence, the cultural implications. However, it’s becoming clearer as this ancient ritual permeates modern society that there are additional concerns.
A demographic crisis is emerging. There are far fewer women than men, a ratio of about 8:10, which in India’s population of over a billion, is quite the discrepancy. Because of this lack of women, there have been reported rises in sexual violence, child abuse, wife-sharing, and bride and sex trafficking. Essentially, if a woman survives at all, she is now viewed as a widely sought commodity, a novelty to be bought.
The fact that millions of baby girls are dying because of blatant misogyny would be a big enough problem on its own. But it’s not only the sexist roots that bother me; it’s also the new outlets of sexism that have resulted from female feticide. The peak violence of murdering girls perpetuates violence later on, both physically and sexually.
Considering all the violence I see around me here, in a first world country, where, comparatively, we’re legally advanced in punishing violence of this nature, it frightens me to think of the situation in rural India, where this punishment is virtually nonexistent.
Let’s not lose any more lives to misogyny.
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