Monday, August 11, 2008

India's missing girls: it's not just an abortion issue

I happened upon this report from a UK Aid group, Action Aid, which gave a run-down of the situation of missing girls in India. Some of the research was paid for by a grant from the International Development Research Centre, which is a Canadian Crown Corporation. (Your tax dollars at work!)

There were numerous compelling anecdotes about the situation of women in India. Although sex-selection abortions are a major reason for the sex ratio imbalance in Northern India, even once girls are born, they do not have it easy. Infanticide is commonplace, as well as neglect. Girl babies, especially, second or subsequent daughters, are allowed to get sick and die. I also know from reading elsewhere that boys are often fed first and fed better food, and the girls get the leftovers. This leads to higher female mortality.

Inspite of the laws against sex-selection abortions and the campaigns for female rights, things are getting worse for girls, not better. This phenomenon is one that cuts across all social classes, and is evident in both rural and urban areas.

India is a country where the rule of law is not consistently applied. People can be killed with impunity there. Here, in Canada, when a death is suspicous, authorities take it very seriously. In India, that is not necessarily the case. Plenty of people look the other way, especially for a price. The expectations are quite different there. My impression that is that life is cheap in India.

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